CSI San Diego: Ichthycide

8 am: Call from residence. Hysterical woman claiming discovery of dead body. Police dispatch to scene.

8:10: Arrive on scene, met by disheveled homeowner. Led me to kitchen and pointed to metal dog food bowl. Called for backup.

Victim is approx 2 inch long betta fish, dessicated, in dog food bowl. Asked witness where betta normally lives, and she showed me a small tank on counter above the dog food bowl.

Witness Interview One: Homeowner (Female)

“Did you hear anything unusual?” I asked.

“I heard something in the bowl last night,” she replied. “I thought it was the cat messing around so I yelled at him to be quiet, but then I looked in the kitchen and he wasn’t there. So I went to bed.” Then she started crying and acting very guilty.

Witness Interview Number Two: Cat

Approx 9 year old feline, black, sneaky looking. Roommates substantiate alibi that cat was in vicinity of litterbox at time owner reported hearing noises and cat has no history of stalking fish. No restraining orders against cat by victim.

Witness Interview Number Three: Homeowner (Male)

Alibi of being in bed playing with iPad verified. Witness has no useful information other than pointing out if the victim had ย “fallen into the water dish instead of the dog food bowl, that would have been pretty awesome.”

Witness Interview Four: Children

No information. Parental witnesses may be planning a cover-up.


Victim shows injuries consistent with drying out. No bite wounds on body.

12:10: Upon returning to crime scene, victim is missing. Witness Three admits to flushing victim down toilet. Witness Three claims this was done under direction of Witness One. Witness One claims this was necessary to protect Witness Four.

Witness One still extremely distraught, yelling “Fish don’t just commit suicide! What the heck is going on here??” Rec 5150.

Summary: Unsolved

Possible suicide– need to research if betta fish routinely jump out of tanks.

Witness One: History of guinea pig dying under suspicious circumstances at same residence. Serial pet killer?

Witness Three did indicate he had filled the tank that night and the water level was near flush with the top of the tank. Possible set-up?

Witness Two: Cat still on list of suspects. He looks shifty. Indicates resentment of dietary restrictions due to food allergies.

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  • Heather

    suicide, definitely. the number of times I’ve had to scoop dried fish off the floor at work because the damn things have jumped out of the tank is uncountable.

    man, that is one odd housecall you had there.

  • Georgia Jewel

    I had a fish that regularly jumped out of his tank and usually lived if I got him back in quickly…The first time, I blamed my brother. It wasn’t until I saw the fish jump during a tank cleaning a few weeks later that my brother was cleared. It was weird.

  • Tonya

    I think if witness 2 had any part in it, the victim would have been batted around the floor and not still in the dish. Imagine if the other two members of the household (missing from this story) would have spied the victim. Then this story would REALLY remain unsolved!

    P.S. Prop B passed in Missouri! YAY! Step one.

    • That was a nailbiter!! I was glued to the twitter feed!

  • Lisa W

    In the witnesses’ defense, I had a betta who attempted suicide in the same manner. I was able to intercede shortly after said betta hit the floor, but if it had been during the night he probably would have simply vanished with my furry witness (who simply cleaned up the crime scene) denying all knowledge. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • The part that kills me is that I heard it happen, looked around the bowl, under the bowl, but not IN the bowl. Who would have expected a fish in it? I’m so wracked with guilt. Poor fish.

  • kristen

    Wow, the EXACT same thing happened to our new carnival goldfish last summer. We put him in a brand new tank on the counter one night and the next morning found him in the dog food bowl, which sits next to the counter the tank was on. I’d say fish may have something in their genetic code which causes them to commit suicide into dog dishes.

  • Sylvia

    I am truly so sorry for your loss and guilt but…. can’t help myself …..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Leigh

    My friend’s betta jumped out of the tank… so it sounds as if it is a routine thing. ๐Ÿ™

  • In our house, there would be no evidence at all. Finn would have eaten the fish 5 seconds after it hit his bowl, since the sound of one tiny bit of leftovers hitting his bowl will bring him from a sound sleep at the other side of the house in a flash. He would have just figured we put it there for him as a snack. He likes fish…

  • I kept my betta in a tank with a lid on it because I had heard about this sort of thing happening. Unfortunately, he passed away last week from natural causes.

    • I’m sorry he passed away. On the other hand, kudos to you for keeping him safe until he could die of natural causes.

  • Kim

    I have a friend who in the late 90s would keep getting betta fish and doom them. You see, Titanic had come out just before that. Each time, she named each and every one she bought after Titanic characters. It all started with Jack who indeed committed suicide.

  • My sister had a betta that literally just disappeared from its bowl one day. The bowl was kept on the windowsill above a sink, and since we never found the fish, everyone assumes he jumped out of the bowl and went down the drain!

  • Maple

    Bettas are notorious jump-out-of-bowl-ers! I’ve always left a solid good couple inches between water line and rim of bowl with them…my last Betta lived to a ripe old age of 4 ๐Ÿ™‚

  • when i was a kid, we had a large tank of neons and other various fish. there was a suicide at least weekly.

  • K

    oh oh OHH! the rest of my family left for a ski trip when i was a teenager and my Dad left me in charge…and his beta fish died!!! NEVER believed me that fish committed suicide. And I will go to my grave knowing it did. Those fish have serious psychological problems. The fish and I were both traumatized by that event. Lol.

  • kara

    suicide. it’s definitely suicide. fishies jump out of bowls all the time!

  • Carrie

    When I was very little (4-6 years old) my father wouldn’t allow us any cats and dogs, only goldfish. I decided that this wasn’t going to stop me from having a pet I could cuddle, and would frequently reach into my tank, grab out a fish, and pet it for a few seconds before dropping it back into the tank.

    Despite having a cover on it, fish would still manage to jump out by repeatedly propelling themselves at the cover’s door until it lifted. If that’s not a suicidal fish story, I don’t know what is. ๐Ÿ˜€