Two Florida men were killed by trash compactors after falling asleep in different dumpsters.
The bodies of William J. "Jay" Norris and Anthony D. Todd were found, two months apart, at the Leon County waste transfer station, reports USA Today.
Dumpsters are a hazard for the homeless, says Glenn Burns, a pastor at Good Samaritan Network of Tallahassee. Burns participated in a National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day for the 28 people in the Tallahassee area who died while homeless in 2016. “Our list was the longest it’s ever been this year,” he said.
Todd’s body was discovered when his legs were seen sticking out of a pile of garbage. A bulldozer driver who was loading trash onto trucks at a waste transfer station made the discovery.
Todd, 43, had been homeless for years. According to his sister, he had seizures since birth, and drank heavily. Employees at the City of Tallahassee Renaissance Center said he frequently spent the night in a dumpster.
As with Todd, Norris' was found by a bulldozer operator who noticed a torso sticking out of some trash that was being moved.
Norris’ first wife said they got married while they were attending the University of Florida. Her ex-husband “had a high-paying job and simply woke up one day deciding to be an alcoholic,” investigators said. Norris’ second ex-wife told investigators he was a deadbeat dad and wife-beater with a “horrible alcohol and drug problem.”
Medical examiners concluded both Todd and Norris were crushed to death.
In Todd’s case, the examiner noted broken ribs and hemorrhaging in the eyes, concluding that the cause of death was asphyxiation caused from compression of the chest. "The observed injuries are consistent with being crushed,” said the autopsy report.
Norris' autopsy found “extensive trauma was obvious and consistent with the body being compressed by a trash compactor.” The medical examiner documented numerous crush injuries to the face, skull and jaw, neck and rib fractures.
In its 2016 report, The State of Homelessness in America, which covers the previous year, the National Alliance to End Homelessness noted: “On a single night in January 2015, 564,708 people were experiencing homelessness -- meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.”