Suicide is often the last resort for when a desperate person sees no other way out of their situation. Malaysian influencer Cathryn Li (李元玲) apparently hit that point on 13th March.
While many netizens voiced their concern for her wellbeing, there were some who questioned the photo. One of them was makeup artist Kenny Yee. Founder of the Makeup Miracle Academy and a professional makeup artist in his own right, he stated that the ‘wounds’ on her neck “(didn’t) look real” to him.
He reiterated several times in his post that “suicide is no joke” and made it clear that it should not be a way to gain sympathy. While he alluded to only knowing about her from the past week and stated he had no obligations about her feelings, her photo made him doubt the authenticity.
Kenny used his makeup skills to demonstrate what someone’s wounds would look like if they survived a hanging. According to him, the line should be near the person’s lower jaw line with scratches on their face or shoulder caused by their struggling. Their face would also be swollen due to blood clot. Kenny added that the survivors “can face a range of serious injuries, including cerebral anoxia (which can lead to permanent brain damage)“. “You won’t have (time) to take a nice selfie like what (Cathryn) did,” he said.
Kenny isn’t the only doubter on the Internet. Other netizens have also expressed uncertainty about her attempt. One netizen pointed out that the wounds on her neck were similar to strangulation and not a hanging. Cathryn has not posted anything since the attempt. She may be listening to concerned fans and taking a break from social media.
Regardless of her predicament, we hope she understands that taking her own life is never the answer.
Update (19th March):
A concerned reader reached out to us about the validity of Kenny’s claims. To be clear, the opinions published here belong to Kenny. However, in light of their concern, we have followed their suggestion and did a little research on the matter.
This update is not to clarify whether Cathryn Li’s suicide was faked or not, it is merely to shade more light on the ligature marks made by hanging. We encourage you, as readers, to research more on your own if interested.
Bhaskar Reddy (Professor and Head of SVIMS-Sri Padmavathi Medical College for Women, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh) and colleagues published a paper about examining ligature marks (the mark on the neck after a hanging) to explain why its important to examine them in suicide cases.
In their research, they clarified that ligature marks are formed when force is applied to the neck via the gravitational pull of the body or part of the body. Reddy et al. also added that the nature of the mark depends on the material and position of ligature used, as well as the time of suspension of the body. It is possible for the mark to be absent or faded in some cases, such as when using a soft cloth or having clothes covering the neck. The mark will initially be pale before darkening to yellow or yellow brown and will be hard on touch. There may also be oozing blood or fluid.
Reddy et al. stated that detectability of the mark is directly proportional to the suspension time. Usually, there in only a single line or mark found. Multiple marks can be seen if there were multiple turns around the neck of if the material was displaced after application during the fall. In most cases, the mark is found above the thyroid cartilage between the larynx and chin (your upper throat). The mark will be slanted upwards. In cases of partial hanging, the mark may be on or below the thyroid cartilage (the lower part of your throat). The mark will be circular and oblique if the ligature is passed around the neck more than once.
Although there have been arguments that Cathryn’s picture is similar to the Epstein strangulation, there has been no concrete research on the matter. These are merely netizens’ opinions and speculations. Once again, we would like to stress that we are by no means clarifying if Cathryn’s suicide was faked or not. However, we agree that suicide is a serious matter. Real or faked, suicide should be taken seriously and we sincerely hope she is getting the help she needs.