dear gravity (salire) wrote in little_details,
dear gravity
salire
little_details

autopsy of a body found in quicksand + differentiating between bruises from two people

What would a person doing an autopsy on a body that has been drowned in quicksand observe and do while performing the autopsy? 
 
In the story, the person that will drown first had character A try to pull him out, then character B try to pull him out. The drowning person fought against character B, then character B pushed the person back in the quicksand to drown him purposefully.  My second question is:  would the bruises on the body from character A pulling on his arms be distinctive from the bruises character B caused on the arms and the bruises he would place on the shoulders from pushing the drowning person down?

Setting: Present day, River Forest, IL (also known as the forest-y, swampy area outside of Chicago)
Research: "postmortem body quicksand" "what body looks like drowned in quicksand" "autopsy quicksand" "autopsy drowned body" and various other combinations of "body" "quicksand" and words that mean a person is dead. Most of my info comes from these links (WARNING: SOME ARE VERY GRAPHIC AND INCLUDE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF DEAD BODIES AND/OR AUTOPSIES BEING PERFORMED): link1, link2, link3, link4, link5
 
Most of my research brings up the debate over whether or not quicksand can kill someone in and of itself (via drowning). A lot of sources say that it can, with the proper combination of clay, salt, water, and sand, and a lot of resources insist that it can't because people are denser than the quicksand mixture and at most the person would be in waist deep. For me, that doesn't really matter because the person is going to be forced down into the quicksand anyway.  
 
My research on autopsies has shown me the basic procedures and what might be found with someone who drowns in water, but there's been nothing on quicksand or even mud, so I have an idea of how everything would go, but I'm just not sure.
 
My assumptions are that the forensic pathologist I have performing the autopsy would document the quicksand all over the body, taking samples. This would also be the time to take samples from under the fingernails, which would be broken, indicating struggle.  Then the body would be rinsed to observe marks on the skin (though I don't know how this would occur; possibly just running clean water over the body? Wiping the body with a wet washcloth?). Petechial hemorrhaging would be present and noted. Then the examiner would make notes on the bruises on the body's shoulders and forearms, measuring them and possibly determining that they were from two individuals, if this is possible. Then the examiner would create the standard Y-incision, open up the chest cavity and examine the heart, which would be enlarged, and lungs, and then start removing organs, weighing them and taking samples. The aorta would be opened up and examined. The trachea and lungs would be opened up, and debris from the quicksand would be found, probably mixed with blood from small abrasions the sand and debris would make.  Samples would be taken. Debris would also be found in the stomach.
 
The rest of the autopsy would commence. The examiner would then find that the manner of death was homicide, the cause of death would be asphyxiation due to debris blocking the airway.
 
Is that pretty on target? Did I leave anything that would be particularly relevant out? I suppose I'm looking for confirmation more than anything else, since I've found an awful lot of info on autopsies and quicksand separately, but absolutely nothing on the two combined.
 
Tags: ~forensics: corpses
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