Pediatric Homicide : Medical Investigation book cover
1st Edition

Pediatric Homicide
Medical Investigation

Edited By

Karen Griest

ISBN 9781420073003
Published September 16, 2009 by CRC Press
256 Pages 8 Color & 104 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Pediatric homicide investigations are clouded by a number of factors, not the least of which is a lack of straightforward resources. The cause of death in infants and children is often subtle and difficult to establish. Designed for quick access, Pediatric Homicide: Medical Investigation provides an invaluable resource for medical examiners, police, child abuse investigators, and attorneys charged with either making or ruling out the diagnosis of homicide.

Focusing on forensic pathology aspects, this book covers the causes of death which are most difficult to determine, including:

  • head injury
  • asphyxiation
  • drowning
  • abdominal trauma
  • poisoning
  • starvation and dehydration

With contributions by a team of expert pathologists, the book provides a scientific foundation for diagnosing homicide, discusses methods to determine the timing of injuries and death, and reviews the legal requirements for presenting evidence in court. More than 100 photographs enhance the text and clarify the source of injury in these difficult cases.

Table of Contents

Intentional Head Injury in Infants and Young Children, Helen Whitwell


Investigation of Suspected Pediatric Non-Accidental Injury Cases

Autopsy Examination

Skull and Spinal Fractures

Neuropathology of Inflicted Head Injury

Problem Areas

Neonaticide, Kim A. Collins


Victim and Perpetrator

Cause of Death

Scene Investigation

Concealment and Denial of Pregnancy and Birth

Stillborn versus Liveborn

Placenta and Umbilical Cord

Ancillary Studies

Blunt Force Trauma

Intentional Suffocation in Infants and Young Children, Karen J. Griest


Intentional Strangulation in Infants and Young Children

Intentional Smothering, Choking, and Compression Asphyxia in Infants and Young Children

Distinction of Intentional from Accidental Strangulation, Suffocation, and Compression Asphyxia

Autopsy Protocol in Childhood Suffocation Cases

Inflicted Fatal Thoracic and Abdominal Injuries in Infants and Young Children, Karen J. Griest

Inflicted Fatal Thoracic Injuries in Infants and Young Children

Inflicted Abdominal Injuries in Infants and Young Children

Child Abuse by Drowning, Karen J. Griest


Overview of Drowning in Infants and Young Children

Overview of Bathtub Drowning in Young Children

Pathophysiology of Drowning

Clinical Aspects of Drowning

Child Abuse by Drowning

The Investigation in Drowning

Supporting Evidence in Physical Child Abuse, Karen J. Griest


Cutaneous Injuries in Children

Alopecia and Scalp Hemorrhages in Child Abuse

Bite Marks in Child Abuse

Orofacial Trauma in Child Abuse

Burns in Child Abuse

Skeletal Injury in Child Abuse

Intentional Starvation/Malnutrition and Dehydration in Children, Kim A. Collins

Lethal Neglect

The Victim

The Investigation

The Postmortem Examination

Ancillary Studies

Secondary Infections


Proving Pediatric Poisoning in the Courtroom, Steven B. Karch


Genetic Diseases

The Courts and the Scientific Method

Problem Poisonings


Timing of Death and Injuries in Infants and

Young Children, Karen J. Griest

Determination of Time of Death

Wound Age Estimation


View More



Dr. Karen Griest is the editor and a major contributor to The Pediatric Trauma and Forensic Newsletter, established in 1993. She has taught forensic medical investigation to police officers, criminal investigators, medical personnel, attorneys, and forensic professionals. She has also consulted on hundreds of child injury and death cases and has testified in state and federal courts throughout the United States.


I found this an interesting and easy book to read and it has provided me with a source of references for further reading, some of which have subsequently proven useful. The book aims to provide a scientific basis for the diagnoses of inflicted injury and death in infants and young children, which I think it achieves, despite being a (reassuringly) compact text. I would certainly recommend this book to doctors involved in paediatric medicolegal work, particularly forensic and paediatric pathologists, but also to clinicians working in paediatric medicine or surgery.
—Dr Matt Lyall, Specialist Registrar in Forensic Pathology, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, writing in The Bulletin of the Royal College of Pathologists, October 2010, No. 152

I can heartily recommend this book to medical examiners, the police personnel of all levels, child abuse investigators, and attorneys charged with either making or ruling out the diagnosis of homicide. I would imagine that it is going to be an invaluable resource for them.

—Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology