Penn State student dies after 11-story fall in trash chute


The student’s body was found when a refuse truck emptied a waste receptacle from the building’s ground floor. (Getty Images)

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A Penn State student has died after falling inside an 11th-floor trash chute.

State College Police and the Centre County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of 19-year-old Justine Gross, who was first reported missing on Thursday, Nov. 11.

After an initial investigation, both parties involved confirmed that Gross died after falling inside a waste disposal chute and into a waste receptacle on the ground floor. The fall took place at “around 11:30 p.m.” on Wednesday, Nov. 10, police said.

Gross’ body was found when the waste receptacle was emptied by a Borough of State College garbage truck and taken to the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority transfer station on Nov. 12, two days after her fall.

Video evidence suggests that Gross was alone in the 11th-floor hallway and in the waste disposal room prior to her fall.

The coroner’s office will determine the cause of death pending a final lab test. This is an ongoing investigation with eyewitness tests, video, and forensic evidence playing a role.

As of Friday, Nov. 19, the incident appears to be accidental, according to police.

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