Explore and Report: The Case of the Murdered Midwife


In this case you will act as an assistant to both an investigator and medical examiner in the case of a woman who, you suspect, has been murdered. The purpose of this case is to test your knowledge of enzymes and cellular respiration.

You should spend approximately 3 hours on this assignment.


  1. Complete The Case of the Murdered Midwife.
  2. Answer all questions using complete sentences.
  3. All references must be cited using APA Style. Please refer to the CCCOnline APA Citation Toolkit.
  4. Submit your completed case study to the Module 3 Assignment 1: Explore and Report: The Case of the Murdered Midwife.

See the Course Schedule and Course Rubrics sections in the Syllabus module for due dates and grading information.

The Case of the Murdered Midwife

Part I: The Investigation

It’s your first day shadowing a detective, and already it’s been interesting…if you can call the murder of a young woman interesting. You’ve been trying to detach yourself by reading the file, but you have interviews later this morning and you’re nervous. Going back to the file, you jot down some notes on what you know so far.

Meleea was a 35-year-old nurse midwife with over ten years’ experience delivering babies both in hospitals, as well as in homes when risk for complications were low. She was healthy; her only medical condition was an allergy to bee stings. The body was discovered by her boyfriend when he came over for a planned dinner. The dinner – spaghetti – was laid out, but no cooking had begun. There was also a plate of cupcakes, with a bite out of only one of them. The boyfriend said Meleea had not mentioned feeling unwell when they spoke earlier in the day. She was, however, tired, and understandably upset about a long birth she had assisted with where a mother had died in childbirth.

The medical examiner did not have results yet, so you sketch out some questions you have for the interviewees.

1.      Who would you interview, and what would you ask?

2.      Do you have any hypotheses about what happened to Meleea? Write at least one or two possibilities. 

Part II: The Medical Examiner’s Report

You now have the medical examiner’s (ME) report. The ME believes she died of asphyxiation. You read that there were no marks on the body, including bee stings. She was healthy, but tissue analysis showed some bizarre results. There was tissue death, but not only that, microscopic analysis showed mitochondrial damage. In addition, there were high levels of oxygen in all tissues examined.

1.      Based on the above, what cellular process might have been interrupted? Support your answer with the information above and knowledge gained in this module. Cite sources using APA Style. 

2.      Are there any conflicting pieces of information in the above? If so, what are they? 

Part III: Analysis of Metabolites

The ME’s report also has a note at the end. She suspects poisoning based on the below results.

1.      What is the role of each of the above metabolites in cellular respiration? INSERT ANSWER

2.      Which of the above are abnormal? Which are normal? 

3.      Based on your answers to the first two questions, what part of cellular respiration do you believe was interrupted? 

Part IV: Test Results

The ME received results for three poisons, and one came back positive: cyanide, a potent inhibitor of cellular respiration.

1.      What is the mechanism of action of cyanide? Focus on the enzyme it inhibits, the type of inhibition, and the normal role of the enzyme in cellular respiration. 

2.      Explain how Meleea died of asphyxiation when her oxygen levels are high. 

Part V: Interviews

After the detective saw the test results, you interviewed the boyfriend, the grieving husband, and the neighbors. No one confessed to the crime, but you did notice a spatula in the neighbor’s sink with the same color icing on it as the cupcake Meleea had begun eating. The detective bagged the spatula, and after confirming a match, the neighbor was arrested. After further interviews it appeared he had an unrequited love interest that turned to murder.

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