Woman Found Dead in Trash Chute

Building is the same in which a 16-year-old fell to his death in a trash chute a little more than a year ago

Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013  |  Updated 6:11 PM CDT
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Florence Banta, 80, lived on the 17th floor of the Astor Condominiums, in the 1500 block of North Astor Street. Michelle Relerford reports.

Florence Banta, 80, lived on the 17th floor of the Astor Condominiums, in the 1500 block of North Astor Street. Michelle Relerford reports.

The body of an elderly woman missing since Saturday was found Monday at the bottom of a trash chute of the high-rise building in which she lived.

Florence Banta, 80, lived on the 17th floor of the Astor Condominiums, in the 1500 block of North Astor Street. Her body was found on the ground floor of the trash chute by a building engineer, a Cook County Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman said.

The building is the same in which a 16-year-old fell to his death in a trash chute a little more than a year ago. A spokesman at Chicago's Department of Buildings explained at that time that the city code, written with fire safety in mind, requires a minimum of 18" clearance so trash can fall safely but says nothing about maximum size or safety concerns for people or animals.

Banta had previously been reported missing and had last been seen Saturday, said police spokeswoman Antoinette Ursitti.

Authorites were not releasing further information about Banta's death on Monday evening. An autopsy to determine manner and cause was scheduled for Tuesday.

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