Last month, we reported that Boston University Professor Carrie O’Connor was crushed to death by an elevator in her apartment building. Now, chilling new details about her death have come to light.

The New York Post reported that state inspectors with the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections have concluded that O’Connor’s death partly came about because of the large package that she was carrying at the time. They found that the 38-year-old was carrying a 7-and-a-half-foot-tall box that hit a switch, sending the elevator plummeting while the door was still open.


O’Connor, who lectured about French, was found dead on September 14 pinned between the elevator and the wall of the shaft. Inspector Martin Guiod explained that the 60-year-old elevator, which is a “birdcage” style lift that requires the occupant to close the gate manually, did not malfunction at the time of the professor’s death.

In coming to this conclusion, investigators looked at video from O’Connor’s building that showed her trying to move the nearly 80-pound package into the elevator. Their report stated that once O’Connor was inside, a maintenance person in the basement pressed the call button, which then signaled to the system to send the elevator down as soon as the interior gate was closed.

The video footage clearly showed the enormous package bumping the car gate switch, a move that mistakenly indicated that the door was closed. This led to the elevator dropping with the interior gate open.

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O’Connor proceeded to lose control of the box, making it temporarily halt the switch, which stopped the elevator’s descent. When the professor lifted the box again, however, it hit the switch for a second time.

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The report said that it is at this point that O’Connor disappears from the footage, indicating “that she had fallen backward into the hoistway between the 1st floor and basement floor.” An autopsy later showed that she died of “traumatic asphyxiation.”

Residents of the building were left stunned by O’Connor’s death.

“I heard someone that was bringing in a package out in the hallway, and then I heard an ungodly scream,” said resident Leanne Scorzoni. “Then we ran out into the hallway, and we saw a gentleman who was obviously in distress. He was screaming and hyperventilating, saying, ‘She’s dead! She’s dead!'”

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.


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