Death by Chainsaw?

I was scanning through criminal justice journal articles on Monday, and this abstract jumped off the page at me:

A 32-year-old Asian woman with a significant medical history of major depression and schizophrenia who had been under treatment for 10 years committed suicide by an ingenious use of a chainsaw. She was found dead in her apartment where she lived alone. She was an engineer, but had shown no apparent interest in power tools. She designed an efficient and complex system for committing suicide. She put her head under a structure composed of pulleys and bags filled with full water bottles in order to weigh down the chainsaw.

The chainsaw rested at the upper part of the structure on two horizontal wood boards sandwiched tightly between two other vertical wood boards in order to guide the chainsaw and avoid vibration and motion. The entire structure was approximately 1.5 m high. The chainsaw was positioned to slide slowly due to the pulleys and elastics fixed with clinched nails on the floor. Measurements had been made to ensure that the joints were square and the beams parallel. An electric command switch on the chainsaw was found in the right hand of the deceased. It allowed the chainsaw to cut the two horizontal wood planks and slide down the structure in a controlled manner. The deceased laid face down on the floor, and the chainsaw cut through her cervical spine and spinal cord...

From: Journal of Forensics (SEP 2008) “Unusual Suicide with a Chainsaw”


Recently in the media, there was a guy who created a suicide machine and used it while sitting in his driveway--I don't remember the details, but think it involved a firearm or explosives. Anecdotally, most of the folks threatening to kill themselves that I dealt with were attention seekers. Rarely would we respond to a situation like this, and I can't remember a suicidal person call that compares to the innovation used here.

3 comments:

KaitHudson said...

thanks for your comment. merry christmas!

Slamdunk said...

for anyone wondering, no, Kait is not my sister or any other relative that I had post the first comment to this blog. as you may have guessed though her check is in the mail...

Anastasia said...

You're so right about people attention seeking. But wow! That is a lot of trouble.