Autopsy Report - Abby Borden



This is the autopsy report of Abby Borden, the step-mother of Lizzie Borden.  It was finalized one week after the death of Mrs. Borden.


Fall River, Mass. August 11, 1892

Record of Autopsy on body of Abby D. Borden, aged 64 years. Thursday August 11, 1892. at 12.35 P.M. One week after death.

The Autopsy was performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper, and witnessed by F. W. Draper of Boston, and J. H. Leary of Fall River. Clerk of Autopsy D. E. Cone of Fall River.

Body that of a female, very well nourished and very fleshy 64 years of age. 5 feet, 3 inches in height. No stiffness of death, owing to decomposition, which was far advanced. Abdomen had already been opened. Artificial teeth in upper jaw. No marks of violence on front of body. On back of body was:

FIRST an incised wound 2 and 1/2 inches in length, and 2 and 1/2 inches in depth. The lower angle of the wound was over the spine and four inches below the junction of neck with body, and extending thence upward and outward to the left. On the forehead and bridge of nose were three contused wounds. Those on the forehead being oval, lengthwise with body.

SECOND The contusion on bridge of nose was one inch in length by on half inch in width.

THIRD On the forehead one was one inch above left eyebrow, one and 1/4 inches long by 3/8 inch in width, and the other one and 1/4 inches above eyebrow, and one and 1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch wide. On the head there were 18 distinct wounds, incising and crushing, and all but four were on the right side. Counting from left to right with the face downwards, the wounds were as follows:

1. Was a glancing scalp wound two inches in length by one and 1/2 inches in width, situated 3 inches above left ear hole, cut from above downwards and did not penetrate the skull.

2. Was exactly on top of the skull one inch long penetrating into but not through the skull.

3. Was parallel to No. 2, one and 1/2 inches long, and penetrating through the skull.

4. Was 2 and 1/4 inches long above occipital protuberance and one and 1/2 inches long.

5. Was parallel to No. 4 and one and 1/2 inches long.

6. Was just above and parallel to No. 5, and one and 1/4 inches long. On top of skull was a traverse fracture two inches in length, a continuation of a penetrating wound.

7. Was two inches long and two inches behind ear hole crushing and carrying bone into brain.

All the wounds of the head following No. 7 though incised crushed through into the brain.

8. Was 2 and 1/2 inches long

9. Was 2 and 3/4 inches long

10. Was one and 3/4 inches long

11. Was 1/2 inches long

12. Was 2 and 1/4 inches long

13. Was one and 3/4 inches long

14. Was two and 1/2 inches long

15. Reached from middle line of head towards the ear 5 inches long

16. Was one inch long

17. Was 1/2 inch long

18. Was 3 and 1/2 inches long

These wounds on the right side were parallel, the direction being mostly from in front backwards.

HEAL. There was a hole in right side of skull 4 and 1/2 to 5 and 1/4 inches, through which the brain evacuated in fluid condition being entirely decomposed.

CHEST. The chest and abdomen was opened by one incision from chin to pubis.

LUNGS bound down behind but normal. HEART normal.

ABDOMEN, Stomach and part of bowel had been removed. Spleen, pancreas, kidneys, liver, bladder and intestines were normal. Womb was the seat of a small fibroid tumor on anterior surface. Fallopian tubes and ovaries normal. Lower bowel empty. Upper portion of small bowel containing undigested food.

W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner

D. E. Cone, Clerk

Media Credits

Abby Borden Autopsy Report. 

From:  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts v Lizzie A. Borden;  The Knowlton Papers, 1892-1893. Editors, Michael Martins and Dennis A. Binette. Fall River, MA: Fall River Historical Society, 1994.


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