J Forensic Sci 2014 May 6;59(3):859-64. Epub 2014 Feb 6.
Laboratoire LAT LUMTOX, 800 av. Marie Curie, Z.I. Jean Jaurès, 07800 La Voulte-sur-Rhône, France.
In March 2009, the body of a 51-year-old man was found in the boot of his car. The body had been frozen before being dismembered at the abdomen. The autopsy failed to determine the cause of death. Systematic toxicological analyses of the victim's peripheral blood and urine showed the presence of atropine, a powerful anticholinergic. Atropine was therefore specifically detected and quantified throughout the victim's biologic samples by HPLC-MS² in the biologic fluids and UHPLC-MS² in the hair. The atropine concentrations were 887 ng/mL in the cardiac blood, 489 ng/mL in the peripheral blood, 6693 ng/mL in the gastric contents (1.1 μg), 6753 ng/mL in the urine, and 2290 pg/mg in the hair. The blood concentrations measured in the decedent were consistent with an overdose of atropine, which was determined as the cause of death. The manner of death was a homicide with criminal intent.