Brooke Baures, a young university student who was found lifeless inside a food elevator in Wisconsin earlier this month, died after her brain was crushed, an autopsy has revealed.
The waitress and social work student at Winona State University, Minnesota, 21, was helping to serve a banquet at the WingDam Saloon and Grill on 1 Dec when her head became caught in a descending second-floor dumbwaiter, Fountain City Wisconsin police said.
Authorities concluded that Baures was likely “using it to move food” when the accident occurred, and do not suspect foul play.
The autopsy results showed Baures suffered “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 began moving.
The food elevator has since been permanently removed from the restaurant, and Federal and state regulators have launched separate investigations.
Accidents with food elevators are rare, according to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with only two other accidents, both fatal, taking place in the US between 2003 and 2013.
Tributes from Baures’ loved ones poured in following the shock-incident.
Baures was a talented gymnast who competed for her university team. Eric Schoh, WSU athletic director, said in a statement earlier this month: “Brooke was a leader on that team and a very talented gymnast.”
“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.”
Watch Ms Baures performing a gymnastic routine below
Days after her death, a candlelight vigil was held in Baures’ on the Winona State campus.
Images posted on social media of the event showed hundreds of mourners gathering to pay their respsects for the young woman.
Additional reporting by AP