Family searches for answers after woman dies in trash chute - New York News

Family searches for answers after woman found dead in trash chute

Posted: Updated:
Florence Banta Florence Banta
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A grieving daughter is looking for answers as to how her 80-year-old mother fell down a trash chute in a Gold Coast high-rise.

It's the same high-rise on North Astor Street where last year, a 16-year-old disabled boy fell down a trash chute and died.

FULL INTERVIEW: Woman talks about mother's deadly fall

Police say the boy's death last year was an accident. They are still investigating this case, but the victim's daughter says her mother would not have taken her own life and questions whether anything was done after the previous accident to protect building residents.

Barbara Laken says her mother, Florence Banta, was an active 80-year-old, who was packing up her belongings over the weekend to move out of 1555 Astor to another Gold Coast building. On Sunday, however, her mother failed to show for Easter Brunch. Police were then called in and on Monday morning, Banta's body was found at the bottom of the building's trash chute, 17 stories below her apartment.

"She was so perfectly perfect, you know, I cannot imagine this fate for her. It's so horrifying!" Laken says of her mother's death. "My mother fell down 17 stories and then was compacted! There's a compactor down there. And the result was so gruesome that the police would not allow us to see it."

Laken says her mother was well aware that a year ago, a 16-year-old boy with Down Syndrome had fallen down a trash chute in the building and died. With her mother packing up and tossing out lots of garbage, Laken wonders if her mother also accidentally fell down the chute.

"It has a door that is larger than your average chute door, but the thing that makes it really unusual is that when it opens up, it opens up way wide," Laken explains.

Laken says she's never measured the trash chutes, but they seem to invite such incidents and to her knowledge, nothing was done after last year's death to prevent another such tragedy.

"And that's the shame of it all, because this didn't have to happen," Laken says. "I did not have to lose my mother this way."

The condo association says it's cooperating with law enforcement, and that the safety and privacy of its residents remains its top priority.

The city's building department says trash chutes are typically inspected when a high-rise is built, primarily to make sure they meet fire codes.

Follow Us!

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Funeral for man who died after NYPD choke hold arrest

    Funeral for man who died after NYPD choke hold arrest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:46:09 GMT
    An overflow crowd packed a church on Wednesday night for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent choke hold. Eric Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing. A preacher opened the service at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley.
    An overflow crowd packed a church on Wednesday night for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent choke hold. Eric Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing. A preacher opened the service at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley.
  • Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:08:13 GMT
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices