My worst nightmare my worst nightmare my worst nightmare: the body of a woman who was trapped in an out-of-service elevator car and starved to death was discovered by a crew of maintenance men roughly a month after she was reported missing in Xi’an, China.

As reported by The LA Times and The Beijing Daily Youth, the woman, who has only identified by the last name Wu, was shut inside the elevator sometime in late January. The building was left vacant for a for a month due to observance and celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Investigators have stated that the workers responsible for making sure the building was clear did not sufficiently check the premises before they left, and failed to do a thorough “visual inspection” of areas like the elevator car.

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What’s worse is that efforts to find the woman were stalled due to negation and stigmatization regarding mental illness within Chinese society. According to the LA Times:

“Local media reports portrayed the victim as mentally ill and said that her family believed she had just gotten lost somewhere. They had reported her missing but did not take further steps to determine her whereabouts.”

Police officials have fingered the elevator management company for “gross negligence,” ruling the incident a case of negligent homicide. An unidentified suspect has purportedly been detained by the authorities in relation to the crime.


Contact the author at jamie.reich@jezebel.com.

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Images via Flickr.