The use of the psychological autopsy in equivocal deaths is discussed. This procedure attracted considerable attention & criticism after it was used, in part, by the Navy to conclude that in a suicide-homicide act Clayton Hartwig was responsible for the 1989 explosion aboard the U.S.S. Iowa. This case illustrates that psychological autopsies are complicated procedures. It is stated that recognizing & respecting the limitations of an assessment technique is the best way to guard against misuse.