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Missing woman found dead in trash chute at Gold Coast high-rise where teen died

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Updated: April 2, 2013 5:44PM

An elderly woman who was reported missing Saturday was found dead Monday at the bottom of a trash chute in the same Gold Coast high-rise where a 17-year-old autistic boy with Down syndrome died in a fall down a trash chute last year.

Florence Banta, 80, was pronounced dead at the scene, 1550 N. Astor, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Banta had last been seen on Saturday, Chicago Police News Affairs Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti said.

A building engineer notified authorities, who found her at the bottom of a trash chute on the ground floor at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Banta lived in a 17th floor unit in the building, and authorities were investigating whether she accidentally fell down the chute, according to a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office.

Police were not releasing further details on her death Monday evening. An autopsy to determine the cause and manner of her death was scheduled for Tuesday. Area Central detectives were conducting a death investigation.

Charlie Manley, 17, fell to his death down the trash chute in the same building on Feb. 20, 2012. He lived with his family in a duplex on the 46th and 47th floors of the building. His family noticed he was missing when an alarm system indicated that a door was ajar, authorities said. When his family couldn’t find him, they called building security and contacted police. Charlie was found facedown in a garbage container on the ground floor and was dead at the scene, according to the medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy found that he had died of multiple injuries from a fall down the trash chute, and his death was ruled an accident, the medical examiner’s office said.

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