Korean J Leg Med.  2023 Aug;47(3):70-74. 10.7580/kjlm.2023.47.3.70.

Three Cases of Suicide Using Dry Ice

  • 1Forensic Investigation Division, Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency, Andong, Korea
  • 2Department of Forensic Medicine, Defense Institute of Forensic Science, Criminal Investigation Command, Ministry of National Defense, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Forensic Investigation Division, Gyeongginambu Provincial Police Agency, Suwon, Korea
  • 4Forensic Investigation Division, Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency, Incheon, Korea
  • 5Forensic Investigation Division, Gyeongnam Provincial Police Agency, Changwon, Korea


Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide and is commonly used in everyday life to keep food or medicine cold. In South Korea, there have been rare cases of carbon dioxide asphyxiation and poisoning from dry ice, though there have been no reports of its use in suicide. In the first case, a man was found lying down dead and left a large amount of dry ice in his room. In the second case, a man died by tying a belt around his neck after placing a plastic bag filled with dry ice over his head. The third death was by placing a large amount of dry ice in a large rubber basin in his room and filling it with water. Dry ice itself is mostly harmless, but if it is not handled carefully in a confined space, it can cause accidents due to accidental oxygen deprivation. Its easy availability in everyday life also means it is likely to be misused for suicidal purposes. Investigators should consider the potential for asphyxiation or poisoning incidents if they discover dry ice or its packaging at the forensic scene.


Asphyxia; Carbon dioxide; Dry ice; Poisoning; Suicide
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