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Precocious Mummification of a Corpse- A Rare Forensic Case from the City of Plovdiv, Republic of Bulgaria
ISSN: 2165-7920

Journal of Clinical Case Reports
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Precocious Mummification of a Corpse- A Rare Forensic Case from the City of Plovdiv, Republic of Bulgaria

Ivan Tsranchev1,2*, Milena Gulinac3 and Detelina Stoyanova4
1Department of Forensic Medicine and Deontology, Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2Department of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital “Saint George”, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
3Department of General and Clinical Pathology, Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
4Department of Scientific Computing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
*Corresponding Author: Ivan Tsranchev, Department of Forensic Medicine and Deontology, Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Tel: +359878700486, Email: [email protected]

Received Date: Oct 10, 2017 / Accepted Date: Nov 22, 2017 / Published Date: Nov 27, 2017

Abstract

Mummification is a postmortem process consisting in the loss of water from the soft tissues of the body and the body’s diminishing in size as a result of drying. The term “precocious mummification” is the process of rapid mummification usually observed in extreme weather conditions, with high temperature and low humidity. We present a case of precociously mummified corpse found in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, sixteen days after the individual’s disappearance. The case is interesting because of the atypical precocious mummification that occurred in a very short period of time, in climate conditions that are not typical for the process of mummification-high humidity, medium temperature amplitudes and low ventilation. Such conditions are not typical for Bulgaria, especially in the fall.

Keywords: Precocious mummification; Atypical climate conditions; Death; Rapid mummification

Introduction

Mummification is a postmortem process consisting in the loss of water from the soft tissues of the body and the body’s diminishing in size as a result of drying. In this process the skin and soft tissues transform their color into brownish-black, and their consistency becomes solid. The process of mummification is usually observed between 6 and 12 months after death.

Case Report

We present a case of precociously mummified corpse found in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, sixteen days after the individual’s disappearance. The corpse is of a 20-year-old man, seen for the last time in the late hours of September 19, 2015 in the city of Plovdiv. The corpse was found by passers-by in the morning of October 4, 2015, in a specific geographic area within the city borders called Dzhendem Tepe Hill. A complete mummification of the corpse had occurred by the time it was found, sixteen days after the man’s disappearance. Over that sixteen-day period, the temperature ranged between 14°C and 23°C, with relative humidity of 65% to 90% and wind speed ranging from 3 to 14 km/h. The corpse was brought to the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University Hospital “St. George” in Plovdiv for forensic examination. Forensic and microscopic examinations were performed on the preserved tissues, with straining of microscopic samples with H-E strain. In addition, a toxicological analysis of the tissue sample was conducted. The external examination of the corpse showed that the skin and the soft tissues were dry, and had brownish-black color. The skin was also thinned (Figures 1-3). An internal examination of the corpse showed that the internal organs into the cranial, thoracic and abdominal cavities had decayed into dried, brownish-black masses (Figures 4 and 5). Microscopical examination of preserved skin showed only amorphous debris. The toxicological analysis was negative for the presence of drugs and alcohol in the observed tissue samples from the corpse.

clinical-case-reports-Thin-skin

Figure 1: Thin skin of the corpse.

clinical-case-reports-Thin-skin

Figure 2: Thin skin of the corpse.

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Figure 3: Thin skin of the corpse.

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Figure 4: Internal examination of the corpse.

clinical-case-reports-Internal-examination

Figure 5: Internal examination of the corpse.

Discussion

We present an interesting case with atypical precocious mummification that occurred in a very short period of time, in climate conditions that are not typical for the process of mummification-high humidity, medium temperature amplitudes and low ventilation. The term “precocious mummification” is the process of rapid mummification usually observed in extreme weather conditions, with high temperature and low humidity [1-3]. Such conditions are not typical for Bulgaria, especially in the fall. Rare cases of mummification in cities are reported in the literature [4]. Cases of precocious mummification are also described by other authors [5,6], and the shortest period for precocious mummification reported in the literature is 8-10 days. Such cases occurred in a closed environment or in an environment with specific microclimatic conditions [1-3].

Conclusion

There are a limited number of cases in the literature of natural, precocious mummification, especially in geographic areas where the typical conditions for this process-high temperature, low humidity and high ventilation-typical for tropical and equatorial areas are not present. This process is also rarely seen in urban areas, especially outside residential areas. Further, this case is of interest to the forensic community because the precocious mummification occurred over a period of only 16 days.

References

Citation: Tsranchev I, Gulinac M, Stoyanova D (2017) Precocious Mummification of a Corpse- A Rare Forensic Case from the City of Plovdiv, Republic of Bulgaria. J Clin Case Rep 7: 1046. DOI: 10.4172/2165-7920.10001046

Copyright: © 2017 Tsranchev I, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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