Police and university authorities say a 19-year-old Penn State student from New Jersey was found dead on Friday after she was reported missing.
Justine Gross, 19, was discovered in the early hours of Nov. 12 at the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority transfer station after being reported missing the night before, according to State College police.
Justine went missing at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 11 and was discovered at 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 12 at the recycle and garbage station. A Borough of State College refuse truck had emptied the waste container between her fall and the finding of her death.
Justine’s sister, Jasmine, confirmed the death of her sibling on Facebook. Under the student’s photo is a devastating remark that reads, “She was found but not alive. Please respect my family’s privacy during this very difficult time as we coordinate with the police investigation.”
“Our condolences and prayers for you and your family. Our daughter was a cheerleading teammate of Justine in SHS,” wrote one.
Another said, “What a tragedy. Sending love to you, your family and your sister.”
People are extending their condolences to the bereaved family.
Justine was a sophomore at the College of Liberal Arts, according to Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers in an email to Centre Daily.
Lisa said in a statement made after Justine was confirmed dead: “We are heartbroken for the family and friends of Justine Gross and offer our condolences to all who knew and loved her.”
In a recent recent release, the State College Police Department stated that the investigation shows Justine’s death was “accidental.”
“Preliminary information available to investigators indicates the death to be accidental in nature. No further information is available for release at this time and will be provided as possible in the future,” it states.
— State College Police (@StateCollegePD) November 19, 2021
According to the statement, State College Police and the Center County Coroner’s Office are both investigating the circumstances surrounding her death. But NBC New York said Justin’s mother, Francoise Gross, is not convinced.
Francoise told NJ Advance, that Justine allegedly had a “smoke” with a man in the apartment building before her fall. She didn’t say what they were smoking because she didn’t want to give anything away.
Francoise allegedly spoke with the man, who said Justine had a “very terrible response” to the smoke and went into a “panic.”
According to her, who was shown video footage by police, Justine had left her tenth-floor flat and gone down to the man’s seventh-floor apartment. They eventually left the apartment before Justine, who appeared alone, dashed to the 11th floor and into the chute room.