Paediatric deaths in developing countries, especially in Africa,
are often attributed to supernatural causes or to aged family members
or unfriendly neighbors. This study aims to evaluate autopsybased
causes of death in such cases.
All autopsy deaths in children less than 15 years of age in which
homicide was suspected from January 2001 to December 2015
were retrospectively reviewed. Their bio-data, circumstances surrounding
death and cause of death were extracted, and presented
in this report.
In the 15 years reviewed, there were 55 pediatric homicide related
cases. Based on autopsy findings (coupled with clinical and
circumstantial evidences), manners of death were classified as natural
(34%), accidental (31%), homicidal (9%) and unascertainable in
the remaining 26% of the cases.
The study highlights the need for forensic pathologists working
in developing countries to be actively involved in all stages of
investigating cases of suspected pediatric homicide.