Penn State student dies after falling down trash chute

Penn State student dies after falling down trash chute

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A 19-year-old Pennsylvania State University student from New Jersey was found dead after falling from an 11-story trash cute at an off-campus apartment building. Justine Gross, who entered the semester as a sophomore was reported missing on November 10. Her body was found the next day. 

Gross reportedly fell into the chute after catching a bad reaction from smoking marijuana. 

Her body was later found dead inside of a trash hauler at the Pennsylvania landfill. While the tragedy was initially reported as an accident, Gross’ mom, Francoise Gross questions what reportedly led to her daughter’s fall. reported that Justin’s Penn State roommates told Francoise that she met a man at an apartment on campus. 

"Campus view of Penn State University at University Park, State College, Pennsylvania, USA"

They added that she was given “a smoke” from the man, which caused her reaction. Francoise confronted the young man for his side of the story, as the last person in in-contact with Justine.

Francoise was surprised to hear him say that she gave her daughter a smoke. As she could recall, this was uncharacteristic of Justine. 

She spoke with more of her daughter’s friends. One shared the final words Justine sent to her on Nov. 10 on Snapchat that read: “Something just happened.”

When Francoise received word of her daughter’s death, she left her home in Summit, NJ to drive to Penn State. Upon arrival she met with police, who showed her surveillance video of Justine’s last whereabouts. 

Old Main building in the main campus of Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, USA

According to, the video shows Justine leaving her apartment alone to meet the unidentified man. She was later seen coming out of his apartment with him. From there she is shown running alone on the 11th floor, where the trash chute was located. 

The 19-year-old’s flip-flops and cell phone were last seen in the 11th-floor stairwell. While police have questioned the man last seen with Justine, he has now hired an attorney and refuses to speak. 

The first candle light vigil was held at her Beaver Terrace apartment, while her hometown, Summit, plans to memorialize her with a vigil at her high school football field on Friday evening. 

Justine was an honors student and high school cheerleader, who studied Communications while at Penn State. She is survived by her mother, Francoise, her brother, Joseph and sister, Jasmine. 

While Justine’s family will hold her funeral on Saturday, her mother is on the hunt to learn the cause of her daughter’s death.                                                        

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