How can we prove a hanging suicide was actually a staged murder?
My brother died recently and we think he was murdered and his death staged to look like a suicide by hanging.Police and coroner investigators are suspicious and looking into case again. There is a definite suspect with means, motive, and opportunity which is known to be hiding evidence and lying to investigators. Problem is finding hard evidence to prove the crime. My brother was ill and had lung problems that made breathing more difficult. We feel he could have been easily overcome and smothered prior to hanging post-mortem. Would the signs on the body be the same as suicide hanging?
Quite frankly, a competent forensic pathologist should be able to determine quite quickly if death were caused by suicide rather than murder. Most people who attempt do disguise a murder try to make it appear to be a suicide; but there are always telltale differences. Without knowing more specifics, it is difficult to give you a definitive answer; however among the things a forensic pathologist would look for were bruises around ligature marks on the neck. If there is no bruising, the victim was probably hanged post mortem. If he were smothered, there would probably be injuries to the mouth and throat to indicate as much. Also, the method of hanging can be indicative. Not all persons who commit suicide leave notes; however there are quite often indications that do not appear obvious until after the fact.
I urge you to consult with the police and make sure a thorough autopsy and forensic examination is conducted. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can probably have an alternative examination performed at your own expense.