Asphyxiation, including drowning, strangulation, and suffocation, is a leading cause of death across the lifespan and a preferred method among serial killers, serial predators and other offenders who fly under the radar. Without obvious signs of external trauma, homicides resulting from asphyxiation are often missed or misdiagnosed as suicides, accidents, natural deaths and often encounter legal challenges that surround the “rough sex defense.” This presentation will address dynamics of asphyxiation crimes, crime scene staging and confirmation bias, processing scenes, and interpreting “undetermined” causes of death in an autopsy. This course will also explore lesser-known types of asphyxiation crimes such as aquatic sexual sadism, inert gas poisoning, staged breath play, and more. Attendees will better understand why these cases are so often missed and gain the insight needed to catch a killer. Attendees will also learn how to investigate cases with undetermined cause and manner of deaths, and most importantly will learn how to recognize, investigate, and document asphyxiation homicides to help prevent future injustices.
The 2022 Strangulation Pre-Conference is hosted by Kelsey McKay and RESPOND Against Violence.