Student found dead at dump 'fell down rubbish chute' on campus

·2-min read

A student who was reported missing likely died after falling down a garbage chute.

Justine Gross, 19, from the US state of New Jersey, was reported missing November 11 after not returning to her room at Penn State University where she was studying the night before.

Police said a municipal rubbish hauler had emptied a skip bin at the base of the chute in the Beaver Terrace apartment building early November 11 and took the garbage to a dump, where officers found her body on November 12.

Justine Gross, 19, is pictured.
Justine Gross, 19, died after falling down a garbage chute. Source: Facebook/ Francoise Gross & Jasmine Owarish

Officers reviewed surveillance recordings showing the woman was alone when she entered a garbage room on the 11th floor of her building, campus police said. They believe her death was an accident but await toxicology and autopsy reports.

Ms Gross’ mother Francoise told NJ Advance a man met up with her and gave her drugs which made her panic.

“He said she had a really bad reaction, a panic, or whatever and he was trying to take her back to her apartment on the 10th floor,” she told the publication.

It’s not clear what the drug was but Francoise said the man told her it was something to smoke.

Ms Gross then apparently sent a Snapchat to a friend which read “something happened”, before she allegedly fell down the chute.

The Beaver Terrace apartment complex at Penn State is pictured.
The Beaver Terrace apartment building where Ms Gross fell. Source: Google Maps (file pic)

Her mother is questioning whether it was the drugs which affected her or something else happened.

“I believe someone was chasing her and she went into the chute, thinking it was a staircase,” she said.

The investigation continues.

The university called Ms Gross’ death heartbreaking and it said it was offering counselling for affected students.

with AP

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