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How would a pathologist and or detective tell whether a drowning of adult male was...

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cozettegirl | eNoter

Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:06 PM via web

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How would a pathologist and or detective tell whether a drowning of adult male was accidental or murder, aside from obvious blunt trauma signs or ligature bruising?

This is for a screenplay, and I'm looking for a sophisticated clue that lets my detective shine in his analytical abilities.  Thank you.

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speamerfam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 7, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Answer #1)

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I am a great reader of mysteries, and one thing I do remember is that the content of the lungs can be analyzed after death.  There have been many plots that involved drowning a victim in a bathtub and then dumping the victim in a natural body of water.  Apparently, one does not inhale water after one is deceased, so the water in the lungs is the water that drowned the victim.  If this is not the water the victim is found in, there is clearly a problem.  Similarly, a victim found in a lake may be found to have ocean water in the lungs, which would lead a reasonable pathologist to the same conclusion, that the victim did not move himself after he was drowned. 

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