NEW RUSSIA TWP. — Authorities are attempting to locate relatives of a 43-year-old man whose crushed body was found Wednesday morning on a conveyor belt at the recycling center at the Republic Services landfill.
Deputies used fingerprints to identify the man, who has had some minor brushes with the law in the past, sheriff’s Sgt. Don Barker said. The man’s identity was being withheld until relatives can be notified.
“There are no signs of obvious foul play,” Barker said.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said the man was very tan, had 62 cents in his pocket and was wearing jeans and a shirt with no shoes. He stood 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 160 pounds.
An autopsy will be performed today, but it appears the man had multiple fractures and died after being crushed by the compacting device in a garbage truck, Evans said.
No identification was found, and there was no evidence of injuries that would indicate homicide, Evans said.
It is possible he was homeless and fell asleep in a recycling bin, which are sometimes used as a place to sleep, Evans said. It also is possible that someone put the body in the container, he said.
The center was recycling items that came from Elyria, Lorain and Amherst, according to the coroner.
The investigation is continuing, but Evans said, “I’m leaning toward it being an accident.”
It will take at least two weeks to get results of toxicology tests to determine if the man had been drinking or using drugs, the coroner said.
If the fingerprints had not been helpful, the office was prepared to circulate photographs of the man’s face to authorities in hopes someone knew who he was, the coroner said.
Barker said the Sheriff’s Office was alerted at 8:17 a.m. that the body had been found at the Lorain County Resource Recovery Complex, which is part of the landfill on Elyria-Oberlin Road.
At the complex, items to be recycled are sorted using a conveyor belt, Barker said.
“His body came out on the belt,” Barker said.
The discovery stunned workers, according to general manager Eric Van Houten.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.