Caretaker in US killed after falling into compactor

A caretaker at a prominent office building who was missing for weeks was crushed to death after falling into a rubbish compactor, surveillance video has revealed.

John Adams' family and authorities had been searching for him, unaware of the tragedy, police said.

The surveillance video shows that Mr Adams, 67, tumbled into the compactor while working at the One Niagara building in New York state, which houses a welcome centre for visitors to the Niagara Falls.

The mechanism "prevented him from being able to escape and made it impossible for co-workers or others to realise what had occurred", Niagara Falls police said.

Mr Adams was last seen picking up rubbish on the night of July 4. Owners of the building had offered a £1,000 reward for information on his whereabouts and his family had put up signs.

"We were wondering for three weeks, 'Where is he?'," his sister, Evie Shepherd, said. She questioned why police apparently had not scanned the videotapes earlier in the search for her brother.

"He wouldn't have been (found) living, but it would have been a lot easier" on the family, Ms Shepherd said.

Police could not immediately say when they had received or reviewed the video.

Building president Tony Farina told the Niagara Gazette that building officials did not examine the video until Friday night because an initial police search of the compactor turned up no conclusive evidence of Mr Adams' remains.

"It was a very startling and tragic discovery," Mr Farina said. "We had always held out hope that somehow John would turn up OK and this is a terrible way for things to end."

The building sits near the New York foot of the Rainbow Bridge, which links the US and Canada just downstream from Niagara Falls.

Mr Adams had worked there for about five years, his sister said.

She said building officials told her he slipped into the compactor while trying to retrieve a fallen rubbish bin.



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