Death of homeless man found in Dumpster at Auburn transfer station ruled accidental

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Entrance to Auburn’s transfer station. Photo/Pat Grossmith

AUBURN, NH — A man who sought shelter last May in a large trash bin in Manchester was accidentally crushed to death when it was mechanically lifted onto a garbage truck and then emptied at a garbage transfer station in Auburn while he still was inside it, according to authorities.

William Bradley, 36, was intoxicated when he climbed into the Dumpster, a likely factor in his accidental death, according to an investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, NH State Police and Auburn police.

The investigation began on May 13, 2019, when employees at the transfer station saw what appeared to be a human body in a pile of refuse delivered to the facility.

An autopsy by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie V. Duval determined Bradley’s death was probable traumatic asphyxia, which results from a severe crush injury causing sudden compression of the thorax, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

His death, Duval concluded, was accidental.

According to the Attorney General, that conclusion is consistent with investigation findings which indicate that Bradley climbed into a large dumpster in Manchester, likely for shelter, and was still inside it when it was mechanically picked up and loaded into a garbage truck.