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Woman, 80, Found Dead at Bottom of Gold Coast Trash Chute

By  Quinn Ford and Darryl Holliday | April 2, 2013 6:51am | Updated on April 2, 2013 4:56pm

GOLD COAST — An 80-year-old woman was pronounced dead after she apparently fell down the trash chute in her high-rise apartment building, authorities said.

Police were called to the 48-story building in the 1500 block of North Astor Street about 10:30 a.m. Monday, according to Officer Hector Alfaro, a police spokesman. Alfaro said police found Florence Banta unresponsive at the bottom of the building's trash chute, where she was pronounced dead, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Banta lived on the 17th floor, according to the medical examiner's office.

Police said Banta had been reported missing since Saturday. They still were investigating her death Tuesday morning, Alfaro said.

A spokeswoman for the building said she was "unable" to provide details, and that the building's management has been cooperating with police.

"We send our most sincere condolences to Florence Banta’s family and friends," said Elena Lugo, director of marketing for the building's management company Wolin-Levin, in a statement. "...The safety and privacy of our residents and our community remains our top priority."

Banta reportedly is the second resident of the building to die after falling down the trash chute in a little more than a year. A 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome and autism died in February 2012 after falling down the chute. The police determined his death was an accident, according to the Tribune.