25 Coroners On The Strangest Cause Of Death They Have Ever Encountered

Brace yourself, because these stories from Ask Reddit might make you retch.

Bones for coroners
Unsplash / Rick Forgo

1. A random bolt hit him in the carotid artery, killing him

“Went to a death once where the guy had suddenly dropped at the side of the road and his co-workers didn’t know what had happened.

He worked for a company cutting grass verges in our town and had a ride on mower which was transported on the back of a trailer. The back of the trailer dropped down to form a ramp but was held under tension by a spring.

It turned out the bolt holding the spring was rusted and on this occasion the tension of the ramp coming down had sheared off the bolt head and fired it at him with huge force from the sudden release… it hit him square on in the carotid artery. Didn’t pierce the skin at all but ruptured it under the skin causing him to die within seconds. Weirdest death I have ever been to. Poor guy was only in his 40s/50s and had kids and a wife who waved him off to work that day. I was glad I didn’t have to go and give them the death message, wouldn’t have known where to begin.

If it had hit him anywhere else he would have had a big bruise and nothing more- there was a square inch or so of an area where it had the ability to be fatal and it got him. Final destination type weirdness.” — Briseadh

2. His body bloated and the tissue slid off

“Cause of death was listed as unknown in the end. Retirement community, so likely just old age. A small streamline trailer (the silver tube ones), guy disappeared in January, it was so air-tight no one noticed until June. He’d bloated, popped, and the rest of the soft tissue sloughed off. Put skeleton in bag, then had to go on an easter egg hunt for things like the skin from the hands for fingerprints. Found they’d floated out of the bathroom, around a corner, and under the bed. Only time I had to put on the full ‘spacesuit’ while working there, it was that bad.” — BloodyKitten

3. She boiled to death in the bathtub

“A woman tried to kill herself with an oil heater in the bathtub. The current wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to hold her in place while the heater slowly boiled the water. Unlucky.” — Koolachoo

4. A man shot himself in the head and lived through it at first

“Mortician here instead of coroner, but… The weirdest case I had, without names, town, or anything being revealed, this person shot themselves with a 20 gauge shotgun to the head in their bedroom, lived through it, and managed to walk to the garage to reload a shell and finish the job. The way it went down, they shouldn’t have made it past the first shell. We would have investigated it as a murder had the blood not shown a clear trail of what happened. It was a mess from the bedroom to the garage where the person had clearly shot themselves and walked in the garage to finish the job.

Another case, when I went to pick up an elderly person in their home, the officer doing the house check found them standing at their kitchen sink dead from a heart attack. They died standing up and their skin was hanging from their arms holding on to the sink. It scared the officer shitless and he refused to re-enter the house.” — Necrolifter

5. A teenage girl was shot through the head and thrown into a mass grave

“Not a coroner but a part-time forensic archaeologist (I mostly fly desk).

Few years ago we excavated a mass grave of villagers killed summarily by the Nazis. Gruesome and sad, but pretty standard stuff, piles of bones, clothes and personal items in a swamp of “body pudding” (sometimes known as Cadaver Goo). At the very edge of the pile we found another body, that of a 13yo girl, killed with a single shot to the forehead. A bit weird, since most of those executions were done through a shot to the back of the head, but the real question appeared after the body came back from the anthro lab:

The girl died sometime between 1970 and 1980. Someone executed a teenager and buried her into a secret mass grave…” — Freevoulous

6. He died from choking on his tongue

“This guy stabbed his eyeballs with pencils and started screaming that he was sick of his seeing his dead daughter. He survives that but decides to stab some other sharp object (I forget what it was) in his ears because he didn’t want to hear her either. Ends up dying by biting his tongue off and trying to swallow it and choking on his blood and tongue. Quite a sad story.” — theboyontrain

7. Animals carried off her bones after her homicide

“We did have one interesting homicide that involved a very old woman being pushed by her much younger mentally ill boyfriend. I’m talking like 40 years younger. The reason it was interesting is because he left her body where she fell for WEEKS and some animals carried off some of the bones. We had to wear “spacesuits” and walk around picking them up from various nooks and crannies at the crime scene. That was the most disgusting state of decomposition I ever saw a body in: it wasn’t totally skeletonized or mummified or desiccated or anything, but the decay was so advanced that we couldn’t make out any superficial details at all. I’ll never forget that disgusting dark green-grey color as long as I live, and I’m NOT easily disgusted after the experiences I had there.” — two_one_fiver

8. He was crushed by the crane he was working with

“I had to call the coroner one night. One of our employees had to unload a barge load of drill pipe. I understand he was pissed at being called out on a cold night, but that was part of the job. He didn’t take the time to lower the outriggers, he lifted the pipe, swung it around and when the crane started to tip over from the weight he made his second mistake, he tried to jump off the crane. The top of the cab crushed his head like an eggshell, I got there before the emt’s, within 20 minutes of the accident, his leg was still twitching. The coroner got there and he couldn’t go anything because the body was pinned under the cab of the crane. Using jacks and shovels we lifted the crane off of his body.

I had the unenviable task of going to his home, waking up his wife to tell her what happened. He was late 50’s so at least there were no little children involved.” — Imnotmyself125

9. He tied blocks to his feet to drown himself

“Two worst I had when I was a morticians assistant at the age of 19 was a man cut down his arms and ripped the skin and tendons out of his arm causing him to bleed out.

I also had a man tie cement blocks smaller ones to his feet and push himself off the side of his pool in the deep end causing him to drown. His family had went on vacation on Friday which is the day he did it and they came back Saturday of the next week to find him still in there. That was by far one of my worst pick ups from the ME!” — Bilbo_T3abagginz

10. He died from his back pain

“A man who had died in hospital from ‘back pain’. He actually had an undiagnosed spine fracture. Constant handling by the medical staff caused paraplegia and death from infection and septic shock.” — MisterMarcus

11. A little boy was run over by a tractor on his farm

“I’m never normally chime into these threads where they ask for someone in a specific profession, but I feel like sharing this one.

My neighbor is a farmer, in the summer of 2002 he was out cutting the silage of the field behind our home. If you don’t know, the way it goes is that one tractor cuts the field with the silage mower which cuts the grass and leaves it in a compact trail of fresh cut grass. Then another tractor comes along with a either a silage bailer or a silage harvester & blower which collects the grass trails, passes it through rotors to chop it up even more fine and then blows it into another tractor drawn trailer beside it. Children love watching tractors, I did it as a child, my neighbors son did it as a child. On the day that my neighbor was harvesting the field, his 11 year old son was watching with his friend, and suddenly decided to go play. Obviously we don’t know what was going through his head, but he decided to hide on his friend, perhaps for a laugh, and hid under one of the cut grass piles. I don’t know whether he simply lost track of time and didn’t realize that the tractors were getting close to him, but he never emerged from the pile, and as a result, the harvester ran over him and cut him into pieces. His dad was driving the harvester. I can’t imagine how he felt to get out to inspect what just jammed his machine and found the bloody scene of his only son mangled in the rotors of the harvester. Police were everywhere around the field that day, it was genuinely unnerving knowing that such a gruesome tragedy occurred so close to my home.” — TusShona

12. She committed suicide with a saw

“Ex worked at a funeral home, they had a… customer, I guess. Who committed suicide with a reciprocal saw. Like a jig saw. Through her forehead. It was very clear that it wasn’t easy, as she tried more than once before it was done. She said they had to turn the saw on to remove it.” — muklan 

13. A donkey ripped apart a toddler

“Not a coroner, but I did recently come into my grandma’s extensive genealogy of our C19 blood relatives in Texas. There were many weird stories, but this one seemed to stand out.

‘I found another grave in Pidcoke Cemetary, Coryell County, that is interesting. There is only a metal marker: ‘Lewis, girl / Killed by jack.’ Hers was the first grave in this Cemetary. I remembered as a child Mama told me about this incident. Erna Mae Griffin told me the same story. They remember this child as being a niece of Laura Lewis and that she was always spoken of as ‘Baby.’

This was a very young child. She had wandered into the yard alone when the donkey attacked her. He would pick her up and toss her into the air taking ‘hunks’ of her body out with his teeth. When her mother was able to get to her, her body was scattered all over the yard. This depressed her mother so that the rest of her life was spent sitting by the window, grieving, and pulling her hair out.'” — littlelou

14. His body digested the bullets inside of him

“I did a summer internship at my state coroners office as a way to pad my resume for medical school. There is one death that I will always remember, but not because it was especially disgusting.

There was a male body brought in with four bullet holes in the anterior side, all of which were in the upper chest. Additionally, there were no exit holes on the posterior side and no evidence of bullet removal. However, after performing an autopsy for over an hour, the coroner could only find two bullets.

After a lot more work, he ended up finding one bullet in the stomach and one in the small intestine. It turns out that these two bullets had actually punctured and entered the esophagus, and as he was dying his body swallowed and began to digest the two bullets. The coroner said he had actually seen this before, but that it was incredibly uncommon.” — Hypnotoad8616

15. A man was shot by a passing gang

“I once responded to a shooting death in a car. Gang hit as he was stopped at a set of lights. As a fire fighter I don’t go to a whole lot of murders but I’d seen a few. There’s normally a fair bit of blood. Not this time. This guy got shot about 5 or 6 time right in the middle of the chest. Every shot spot on, hitting the heart. His heart never beat after the first bullet (in all likelihood). There wasn’t a single drop of blood I’m that car. Thought that was pretty weird.” — demoneyesturbo

16. He died from a poisoned snake bite

“Grandfather used to live on base in the 50s with my Grandma in the Carolinas. Gardener on base is cutting the long grass around–runs over a snake. The snake’s head is cut off by the lawnmower, and, mouth open–hits the gardener right in the neck with its fangs.

Gardener ended up dying from snake poisoning. Truly fearful of cutting grass now.” — Quite_Obscene

17. His organs were sucked from his body

“My brother is a firefighter/paramedic and one of his first cases was a guy who kicked a woodchipper and got his feet trapped, he felt all of it until it got to his pelvis and sucked all of his organs out.

One time in the ER we had a guy who came in with schizophrenia and he scratched his own eyes out and choked on them, I’ll never forget how awful it looked.” — Dipplethong

18. He decapitated himself with a chain

“A guy in Australia put a chain around his neck. Backed up the ute and drove as fast as he could, past the tree that the chain was attached to. Once the chain reached its full length, it decapitated him. Head landed at his feet. Spun the ute around and bent the pillar. A real messy site. Found by his neighbor, I think. This is a while ago.” — rocopotomus74

19. Her father accidentally ran over her

“First guy was riding a motor bike which slipped from under him on a downwards slope sending him head first into a pavement pole decapitating him

Second was a little girl playing on her driveway who was bent down so that when her dad backed out to go to work he didn’t see her and ran over her head

Third was not as graphic but very very strange: a suicide for an odp from the hospital who had committed suicide by overdose but the way he did it was so eerie. He wore his best suit, self cannulated about 5 times in each arm and connected himself up to a bunch of propranolol he’d been steeling from the hospital for about two weeks, when we came in he was sat upright in bed, super smartly dressed and his hands were still holding the tap for the last two drips.

I have tons of these but I think these were the saddest/weirdest.” — Thatrandomgrill 

20. He ripped his penis off his body

“I am a security officer at a local hospital with a major psych ward. I had to put a body of a psych patient in the morgue because he ripped off his dick and balls, gouged out his eyeballs and swallowed them thus suffocating himself. He did this all with in five feet of the RN station and not making a sound.” — Firety12

21. He bled to death after scratching his leg

“Not me but my girlfriend works with the Coroners service.

Most interesting one she could think of was when a guy was scratching his leg and burst a varicose vein which led him to bleed to death.” — SJWILL97

22. He shot himself four times with a shotgun

“Suicide by gunshot… 4 of them. After shooting himself in the chest with a shotgun, head with a pistol, jaw with the shotgun again he finally succeeded with shooting himself in the heart with the shotgun again by pulling the trigger with his toes.” — Totallynotatheif 

23. A woman got ran over by a truck trying to save her dog

“So this lady is walking her dog down the sidewalk once upon a time. The dog manages to get loose from its leash and bolts into the street. Right underneath a stopped garbage truck. The lady, trying to save her pupper, ducks under the truck. At that moment, the garbage truck driver, oblivious to the what’s happening backs up and over the poor women’s head.

As my friend described it, there was nothing left above the shoulders. The dog was fine, though.” — TamerVirus

24. He decapitated himself

“I had a guy decapitate himself using a table saw.” — ittyBritty13

25. A man died of starvation and dehydration

“Worse one I had was an elderly man had a 40 year old son with the mental capacity of a small child. The old man died of natural causes and the 40 year old son ended up dying of starvation or dehydration. He couldn’t figure out how to make food. He had tried to eat a bag of flour. He was found on the ground by his father playing with his toy cars.

Saddest death I’ve experienced. I need a beer now.” — OhhDavie Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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