Investigators say a woman asphyxiated to death after falling into a large trash bin and landed in an awkward position over the weekend in Butte.
The body of a 49-year-old Butte woman was found in the trash bin behind the BSW Thrift Store off of Cobban at 9 a.m. Sunday. The medical examiner for the Montana Crime Lab in Missoula determined her death was accidental.
The woman died from “positional asphyxiation” by landing in an awkward position and was unable to breathe, according to the autopsy.
Police haven’t released the name of the victim Monday morning pending notification of family.
Sheriff Ed Lester said the woman regularly sifted through trash bins in search of items. She apparently was standing on a loading dock behind the store and checking inside the 8 foot tall trash bin sometime the night before or early morning. Investigators suspect she slipped while trying to retrieve an item in the bin and fell inside.
She landed in a nearly upside down position and was pinned to the bin wall by several heavy items in the bin. Lester said the bin was loaded with suitcases, bed frames and other heavy objects.
The victim’s car was parked nearby with the door open and the engine still running when she was found.