Psychological Autopsy Research Paper

1927 Words 8 Pages
Psychologists have studied the procedures and tactics that are used by the police officers in criminal investigations. They have produced psychological knowledge and have helped the police to be able to apply it to criminal investigations. Since 1958, there have been many adaptations to the way psychologists handle investigations and autopsies. Police psychologists usually play many roles within law enforcement. Although things have evolved, they are still used to aid the pathologist or medical examiner (corner) in determining the manner of death in investigations. Psychological autopsy is an investigation tool that helps to reconstruct background, personal relationships, habits, character, and coping patterns. It assists in the investigation …show more content…
It is a process designed to evaluate the different psychological aspect of a deceased person including behavior, thoughts, feelings, and relationships. Normally psychological autopsies are there to find out why, what, and how. There are four main purposes for conducting a psychological autopsy. The first main purpose is to find the mode of death and assist in determining the nature of death. The crime scene and inspection of the body at the corners/medical examiner’s office can give information on the criminal and how he handled the victim. A psychological autopsy can help establish if the death was accidental, homicide, suicide, or from natural causes. In this case, did the individual purposely kill himself? Was he in a fight and the gun went off? Or did someone kill him? (Kurke, 1995) The second purpose is to discover why the death happened at the particular time and date (was the person simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, was this date a special date, was the person in their normal place of routine when killed…etc). Next purpose is to determine what was the motivation for the death. Motivation of death can include anything from intentional (on purpose), sub-intentional (an act that was meant to harm but not kill), and unintentional (accident) (Kurke, 1995). The last main purpose for a psychological autopsy is for the value it has to the survivors of the deceased. It is always loosing …show more content…
Primary questions such as: How did the individual die and when? Why at that particular time? What is the mode of death? Would the individual commit suicide, why? Secondary questions would ask: What was the deceased like? What occurred in his or her life that could have caused the incident (Kurke, 1995)? The first step in conducting a psychological autopsy is to examine all information that is available. That would mean examine anything from crime scene photographs, descriptions, drawings, weather conditions, witnesses, and environmental conditions. Name, age and date of birth, gender, race, marital status, occupation, home address, location of the scene…etc. After it is always wise to review all other records available such as witness interviews. Witness interviews give the psychologists a list of people that they should interview later on in the psychological autopsy. Crime scene analysis provides valuable data. It helps to determine insight into the relationship between the deceased life and death. The next step would be to review the autopsy (psychological and toxicology) reports. These reports can give clarity into the manner of death, cause of death, and give blood and toxicology results (Kurke,

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