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Murder-Suicide: An Overview (From Forensic Pathology Reviews, Volume 3, P 337-347, 2005, Michael Tsokos, ed, -- See NCJ-209976)

NCJ Number
Roger W. Byard M.D.
Date Published
11 pages
This chapter provides an overview of murder-suicide.
Murder-suicide is an act in which the perpetrator of a homicide kills him or herself after killing the victim(s). Rates of murder-suicide are fairly consistent across communities and are much lower than rates for homicide or suicide. The most common murder-suicide scenario involves a White male perpetrator in his 40s who kills his estranged spouse and perhaps his children before killing himself. The three most common categories of murder-suicide are cases in which (1) the act is caused by jealously or concern about age or illness; (2) the act is perpetrated by a parent who kills all of the children and then themselves; and (3) the act involves disgruntled employees, cult members, or members of religious or political groups who target a large number of victims before committing suicide. Aspects of the investigation are reviewed, international rates of murder-suicide are presented, and the possible motivations for murder-suicide are briefly considered. Tables, references