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Jun 5th, 2009


CNN reports that David Carradine’s wife and manager are disputing suggestions that Carradine’s death was a suicide, noting that “rescue workers and police in Bangkok, Thailand, said the actor’s neck and genitals were found bound with rope.” (David Carradine’s manager suspects foul play in actor’s death, June 5, 2009).

David Carradine was the star of the 1970s TV series,
David Carradine (Photo: Getty Images / CNN)

According to the CNN report,

Bangkok police said Carradine was found hanging by a nylon rope in a Bangkok hotel room closet Thursday morning.

A member of the emergency crew who was called to the hotel after a maid found Carradine told CNN that a yellow nylon rope was tied around the actor’s neck and a black rope was around his genitals. Police later confirmed that information.

“I do not know if you want to call it accidental,” Chuck Binder, Carradine’s manager, told CNN’s Larry King on Thursday. He said Carradine’s career was on a roll.

CNN quotes Bangkok Police Lt. Colonel Pirom Chanpirom as saying that investigators found no sign of forced entry into Carradine’s room.

Autopsy results are pending, but the likely cause of death is asphyxiation (anoxia), with hanging as the manner of death.

However, the circumstances surrounding Carradine’s death dictate the need for a psychological autopsy (equivocal death analyis) in addition to the physical autopsy, in order to help establish whether Carradine’s death resulted from suicide, homicide (foul play), an accident, or natural causes.

Circumstantial evidence suggests Carradine’s death was the result of a tragic accident, namely a botched case of autoerotic asphyxiation (self-induced suffocation in an attempt to enhance sexual pleasure during masturbation).

The fact that there was no forced entry to Carradine’s room, supplemented by the lack of any reports of signs of a struggle make it unlikely that foul play was involved. Moreover, hanging is a highly atypical MO for murder.

The main evidence contraindicative of suicide is the rope reportedly tied around Carradine’s genitals. Genital binding (using rope or some other binding device to constrict the penis and testicles) is a common practice in autoerotic asphyxiation.

Furthermore, the report suggests that Caradine was not dressed during the hanging, which would be highly unusual in a suicide. Moreover, he was reportedly found in a sitting position, which is inconsistent with suicide. The presence of visible pornographic materials at the death scene would be further evidence in favor of accidental death resulting from autoerotic activity; however, none has been reported in the media.

Recommended references

Robert R. Hazelwood, Park Elliot Dietz, & Ann Wolbert Burgess (1983). Autoerotic Fatalities. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

Ronald M. Holmes & Stephen T. Holmes (2009). Autoerotic asphyxiation. In Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool (4th ed.) (pp. 186-199). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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UPDATES

Related literature

Why people engage in autoerotic asphyxiation 

Related report

Actor’s death raises bizarre questions

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6/6/09 Update

Carradine family requests help from FBI

Attorney Mark Geragos, representing David Carradine’s brother Keith Carradine, is reported as saying the family has asked the FBI to investigate Carradine’s death. The family has retained forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to conduct a private autopsy to establish whether another person could have been involved in Carradine’s death.

Reports that Carradine was found with his hands tied have prompted speculation that it serves as proof of foul play. However, it’s possible that what was reported as bound hands may, in fact, have been simply a  “rescue” or “fail-safe” device designed to escape from the noose, as shown in this illustration.

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Bachmann “False Witness” Reviewed

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2 Responses to “Carradine Autoerotic Death?”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bachmann’s St. Cloud Tea Party Says:

    [...] Carradine Autoerotic Death [...]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Top al-Qaida Commander Killed Says:

    [...] David Carradine’s Autoerotic Death [...]

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