The tissue distribution of ethyl acetate and ethanol in a case of acute intoxication by ethyl acetate is presented. The victim was a 39-year-old man who was found dead lying on his abdomen in the interior of a tank containing ethyl acetate. Confirmation of ethyl acetate was obtained with static headspace gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. In blood, rapid biotransformation of ethyl acetate occurs by plasma esterases resulting in acetic acid and ethanol. Quantitation of ethyl acetate and ethanol in the postmortem samples was performed using static headspace gas chromatography with flame ionization detector. N-butanol was used as internal standard. Separation of the compounds was obtained on a Supelcowaxtrade mark-10 Fused Silica capillary column. The method was linear over the specific ranges investigated and showed a within-run accuracy of 99.8 and 101.0% and a precision of 0.5 and 2.0% for ethanol and ethyl acetate, respectively. The postmortem samples were analyzed in duplicate or triplicate. Coefficients of variation were < or =4.51% for ethyl acetate and < or =0.52% for ethanol. The low ratios of the ethyl acetate concentration to the ethanol concentration found in the postmortem tissue samples confirmed the rapid in vivo biotransformation of ethyl acetate. The highest concentration of ethyl acetate was found in the testis indicating that postmortem percutane absorption may have occurred. To our knowledge, this is the first reported tissue distribution study of ethyl acetate and ethanol in a case of acute intoxication by ethyl acetate.