Ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate in autopsy samples 27 years after death.

Abstract:

:The unique case of a 50-year-old known alcoholic whose corpse was exhumed 27 years after death is reported. The man apparently committed suicide by hanging, but many years later the case was questioned and homicide-linked to a long-lasting serial killer case-was suspected. Thus, the corpse was exhumed, and at the autopsy it was found to be naturally mummified. This fact permitted the analysis of body tissues with the aim to investigate the persistence of ethanol conjugates in the biological material 27 years after death. Fragments of liver and kidney, a blood clot, and a hair strand were collected and submitted to liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and ethyl sulfate (EtS) were identified and quantified in the liver, the kidney, and the blood clot. Hair analysis was found to be severely affected by ion suppression even after solid phase extraction. Consequently, EtG was identified in all hair segments (0-3 cm, 3-6 cm, and 6-10 cm), but no reliable quantification could be carried out. In summary, our findings demonstrate that, notwithstanding the expected conjugate degradation, EtG and EtS can be indicative of ante-mortem use of alcohol even many years after death.

journal_name

Int J Legal Med

authors

Politi L,Morini L,Mari F,Groppi A,Bertol E

doi

10.1007/s00414-008-0273-z

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2008-11-01 00:00:00

pages

507-9

issue

6

eissn

0937-9827

issn

1437-1596

journal_volume

122

pub_type

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