Background: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a major and ubiquitous component of fire atmospheres
produced when organic matter is burned in an inadequate supply of oxygen. Accidental
poisoning by CO is common in cold climates where fireplaces, a gas, electric or kerosene heaters or
grills are used inside ill-ventilated buildings. In the Brazilian Amazon, with its hot and humid climate,
there is no need for the use of heaters and accidents may occur in cases of residential fires or
burning of the forests for land use in agriculture.
Objective: We present a case of CO suicide of twenty-six-year-old men.
Method: A forensic autopsy was performed to evaluate the circumstances, cause and medio-legal
Results: Autopsy evidenced the typical but also not commonly published cherry-red color of the hypostasis,
lungs and other organs, and the very fluid cherry-red blood. The cause of death was due to
a massive CO inhalation.
Conclusion: While these poisonings are well recognized, and a vast number of publications on CO
toxicity exist, both in an environmental and industrial context, suicide is infrequently encountered in
forensic practice and the typical signs are rarely seen in the literature.