Adult Dismembered Body With Myositis Ossificans: Evidence for Physical Abuse in an Autopsy Case Report

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2021 Mar 1;42(1):73-76. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000628.


A case involving an adult dismembered body with myositis ossificans (MO) is described. A woman in her 20s was found dead in her cohabitants' room. The body had dismembered into 15 pieces. Computed tomography showed ectopic mineralization in the bilateral upper arms and thighs. On autopsy, the skin and soft tissue were in the process of adipocere formation. Darkened areas that appeared to be subcutaneous hemorrhage were distributed on the face, left chest, and back. Bilateral upper arms and thighs showed organized granulations adherent to underlying bone. Microscopically, these organized lesions represented mature bone tissue in the periphery, cartilage tissue in the middle layer, and fibrotic tissue in the central part. These were typical findings of MO. Myositis ossificans and subcutaneous hemorrhage seemed to be evidence of antemortem repetitive physical abuse. In cases of dismemberment, the absence of organs and parts of the body provide limitations to determining cause of death. In forensic fields, adult autopsy cases involving MO are rare. This is an unusual case in which MO revealed antemortem physical abuse despite dismemberment of the body.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Corpse Dismemberment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humerus / diagnostic imaging
  • Humerus / pathology
  • Myositis Ossificans / pathology*
  • Physical Abuse*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed