CRIME
12/10/2014 08:59 am ET Updated Jan 06, 2015

Brooke Baures Autopsy: Descending Dumbwaiter Killed Waitress

Winona State University

An autopsy has revealed the cause of death in the mysterious case of a young woman who was found dead inside a dumbwaiter earlier this month.

Fountain City, Wisconsin police said that Brooke Baures, a waitress at WingDam Saloon and Grill, died after getting her head caught in a descending second-floor dumbwaiter while working a banquet at the restaurant on Dec. 1.

According to the Associated Press:

[Police] said they believe Baures' head "was located almost entirely inside the cab of the elevator canted slightly to her right as the cab descended. When the roof of the cab passed the sill of the second floor access, Brooke sustained fatal crushing injuries to her brainstem and cerebellum."

Authorities said that Baures, a student at Winona State University and member of the school's gymnastics team, was likely "using it to move food" when the accident occurred. Police believe she's the only one who could have pressed the button to operate the machine, and do not suspect foul play.

Anyone operating the dumbwaiter had only about five seconds before the interior of the cab disappeared below the sill, police said. The dumbwaiter has since been permanently removed.

"Brooke was a leader on that team and a very talented gymnast," Eric Schoh, WSU athletic director, said in a statement earlier this month. "This is a tremendous loss for our community, and we ask that you keep Brooke and her family, friends, coaches and teammates in your thoughts."

Based on witness' statements, police believe Baures was the only person who could have pressed the dumbwaiter's control button on the second floor and concluded no crime was committed in her death.

The autopsy found "extensive destruction" of the brainstem and left side of the cerebellum and concluded she died of severe head trauma. Police believe her head was almost entirely inside the cab of the elevator when it descended.

Based on autopsy results, police said they believe Baures' head "was located almost entirely inside the cab of the elevator canted slightly to her right as the cab descended. When the roof of the cab passed the sill of the second floor access, Brooke sustained fatal crushing injuries to her brainstem and cerebellum," the report said. Anyone operating the dumbwaiter had only about five seconds before the interior of the cab disappeared below the sill, police said.

The dumbwaiter has since been permanently removed.

Federal and state regulators have launched separate investigations.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Dangerous Days
CONVERSATIONS