Disabled Boy Falls Down Garbage Chute, Dies In Gold Coast

UPDATED 02/21/12 11:51 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Questions abound Tuesday morning after a 16-year-old developmentally disabled boy fell to his death down a trash chute in a Gold Coast high-rise.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Charlie Manley apparently fell 46 stories down a garbage chute in the high-rise condo building at 1555 N. Astor St., just across the street from the Cardinal’s Residence.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Manley’s body was found around 11:15 p.m. Monday, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. While earlier reports had said he was 17, police said he was 16 years old.

Manley was autistic and also had Down syndrome, and lived with his family in the penthouse on the 46th and 47th floors of the building, the Sun-Times Media Wire reported.

One neighbor calls him a fun, lovable kid who was always friendly with residents in the high-rise.

“You don’t find a better Charlie,” said Tommy Bernstein, choking up has he spoke. “I am so upset.”

Bernstein often saw Manley around the building.

“He was always up, and everyone loved him – ‘Charlie, hi Charlie,’ on the elevator, and he always had had a smile,” Bernstein said.

Manley’s family first discovered he was missing when an alarm system at their home indicated a door was ajar, the Sun-Times Media Wire reported.

The family called police, and Manley was eventually found inside the building’s trash compactor. Police believe he fell down the garbage chute 46 floors.

On Monday night, people gathered inside the lobby, all shaken up by the tragic ending.

“It’s a catastrophe, I think,” Bernstein said.

Manley was the youngest child in the family.

“He just was always a good kid; a good boy,” Bernstein said.

Belmont Area police detectives are treating the mishap as a death investigation, and they say it appears to have been an accident. An autopsy is scheduled for later Tuesday.

The boy’s family had no comment.

  • Afro

    They better rule an accident, these guys can’t solve a murder.

  • Roberta Waker

    If it’s that easy to fall down this chute, ALL children in the building are at risk. If this boy was autistic and had Down Syndrome he should have been watched more carefully. Where were the parents and how long before they noticed he was missing? Our sympathy to the family and I hope they push for more safety precautions in this building to avoid more deaths.

    • Theresa

      I don’t know all the details and neither do you but, based on what I read in this article as well as others on the internet, there was a door alarm system that was triggered whenever one of the doors in their home was opened. That’s how the parents knew he was gone and after checking their home and finding him gone, they immediately called the police and building security. You asked where the parents were? Probably in bed sleeping. I know I would have been that late at night. Aside from locks on the doors and an alarm system letting them know that he wandered off, not sure how much more could have been done to prevent this accident. This is a tragic accident and to blame already grieving parents is absolutely insensitive.

  • Homes

    Can you smell a lawsuit behind the version of this story. If safety precautions were not in place , why did they not 1 take action 2 insure THEMSELVES the safety of the boy. Behind every accident is an untold story of true facts.

    • tom sharp

      Agree with the lawsuit! The ambulance chasers will be lining up on Aster Street. It always the responsibility of the guys with the deep pockets, don’t ya know!

  • Tamora Joe

    Those guys really seem to know what the deal is over there. Wow.


  • SMH

    Tall buildings scare me. I’m TERRIFIED of heights, for starters, and I always think about things like ‘what if there’s a fire?’ If I had young kids I would NEVER live in a building that tall-I don’t care if anybody thinks that’s weird or not. I read all the time about young kids falling out windows and stuff like that and I think ‘why the hell are you living in such a tall building if you have kids?’ Nope-I refuse to live in a building more than two storeys high.

    I live in a country with no high rises which may explain why the concept of living/working in hig hrises is so foreign to me. Even when I vacation in the U.S. I don’t stay above the second floor of the hotel. Looking at the World Trade Center on 9/11, I wonder why the hell people would work in such tall buildings. Even if planes don’t fly into the building, it’s still dangerous if a fire broke out-you’re a sitting duck. It amazes me how Americans don’t think of these things.

    As for the parents, they appear well-off so I’m sure a lawsuit is the furthest thing from their minds right now. Sad, but they should have did a better job of keeping their boy safe.

    • Tom

      That’s weird.

  • http://goldnewz.com/2012/02/21/teen-falls-to-death-in-gold-coast-were-all-shocked-chicago-tribune/ Teen falls to death in Gold Coast: 'We're all shocked' - Chicago Tribune

    […] CBS Local […]

  • http://darnellthenewsman.com/2012/02/21/disabled-boy-falls-down-garbage-chute-and-dies/ Disabled Boy Falls Down Garbage Chute, And Dies… « Hot Off D's Press

    […] Disabled Boy Falls Down Garbage Chute, Dies In Gold Coast « CBS Chicago. […]

  • msassano

    I have a down syndrome daughter/a twin and a household of 5. we double lock our doors or she will open them and get out. they all know what to do in case of a fire. we live on one level. a down syndrome child does not belong on a large level. I’d go as far as tri level and that’s it! not safe for them. My husband and I sleep in different area of the house. One near front door and one in our bed with our daughter usually. Even exhausted we would be able to monitor her well being.

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