Is there actually a way to kill someone and leave no sign of it being a murder?

The old way that you could supposedly murder someone without leaving any evidence of a homicide was by smothering them with a pillow, but now I believe there’s ways to tell if that was the case (because they just did it on Law & Order SVU. With all the advanced tests they do in autopsies, its impossible to drug or poison somebody without it showing up on an autopsy, so is there any way that you can kill someone but leave the autopsy showing anything but a homicide?

Staging suicide is excluded, staging accidental death is not.

Need answer fast?

A heroin overdose would be pretty hard to trace.

Catch the bird flu, go cough in his face, go get treatment.

My first guess would be use of some inert gas like nitrogen. I don’t know how you could administer it without a violent struggle though.

Depends on the age and fitness of the person. I’m not going to list them but there are ways of inducing a heart attack artificially. If the person in question is in the right risk category an autopsy is unlikely to be done.

Less likely to work on an athletic 25 year old however.

Scare them to death.


How do you suppose people suffocate in nitrogen naturally? That’s not something an ME is going to miss…

For staging an accidental death, we’re currently at a period where tampering with someones car via hacking or connecting a physical device that overrides the computer controlling brakes etc is very possible but highly unlikely to be investigated as a serious option by police unless they already had some reason to suspect that. And if its a high speed crash which results in a fire any tiny USB device plugged into the service port on a car is likely to not survive the wreckage in any recognisable form.

Push 'em off a cliff.

I don’t think the pillow thing works unless someone has severe respiratory problems already, or you have bizzarely dense pillows. My gf and I were watching a movie where it happened, and debating whether it was possible, so I had her try it on me (for just a few seconds, obliviously). Even when she put all her weight into it, breathing through the pillow was pretty easy.


What characteristic findings or test results do you think will point to asphyxia in nitrogen?

Carbon monoxide would lend a healthy pink tone to the corpse; other gases might have characteristic odors or leave traces in blood or tissue samples (you would not expect to see helium in normal blood, for example). Nitrogen in the blood and tissues, however, would be an expected finding, since it already makes up the majority of the atmosphere.

I always had the impression they were actually using one hand to squeeze the neck and cut off the supply of oxygen to the brain by closing arteries, then the pillow was just to muffle the screams. You can make someone unconscious in under 10 seconds if you manage to close the carotid arteries. Of course that will leave obvious finger marks.

Boys and girls, You are aware that if some nut job sees an idea mentioned here then tries it out on somebody, whether he/she is successful or not, you can be traced by the cops right to you door and be charged as an accessory? Ya might want to be careful what you suggest.

Phu Cat

No suicide.

Bah. Nut jobs are just going to watch people murder people on TV and think they can get away with doing the exact same thing, only more craftily.

My psychotic chemistry teacher used to emphasis that all you had to do was dissolve osmium tetroxide in DMSO, and paint any surface that your target was expected to touch. He was a lunatic, so I have little reason to doubt him.

Any death in which there are no witnesses and no dead body would qualify under OP’s conditions.

There are any number of ways to dispose of a body - the guy who killed his wife in the bedroom and then used a wood chipper on a remote bridge in the wee earlys of a blizzard screwed up because of a school bus driver. Who saw a guy running a wood chipper in a really, really memorable time and place.
And the blood in the house, once he became a suspect.

But the wood chipper on a bridge is an idea - but destroy hair, teeth, and any medical devices before feeding the body into it.

Don’t you watch Law and Order? First amendment and an alibi will protect your responses.

That guy was an idiot. He used a card to purchase the woodchipper, not cash, and he just used it near the road, he didn’t drive deep into the woods and do it? Had he paid in cash, their would be no connection to him and he wouldn’t have been convicted without a body.