Autopsy results: WSU student died of severe head trauma

Brooke Baures found entangled in restaurant food elevator

Fountain City police said the 21-year-old Winona State University student found dead at her job last week died of severe head trauma, according to preliminary autopsy results for Brooke Baures.

“It is our finding at this point in time that no crime occurred in this tragedy,” Fountain City Police Chief Jason Mork stated in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

The Winona State University Student from Chetek, Wisconsin, was found entangled in a food elevator, or dumbwaiter, at WingDam Saloon and Grill where she worked in Fountain City on the night of Monday, December 1.

“Based on the autopsy results, FCPD believes that Brooke’s head was located almost entirely inside the cab of the elevator canted slightly to her right as the cab descended. When the roof of the cab passed the sill of the second floor access, Brooke sustained fatal crushing injuries to her brain stem and cerebellum,” the news release from Fountain City Police Chief Jason Mork stated.

Based on cell phone records associated with the incident, it happened at approximately 7:54-7:55 p.m.  Police said none of the 18 banquet-goers heard any vocalization. Several witnesses place Brooke behind the buffet area just prior to the final cycling of the elevator.

“FCPD has considerable follow-up remaining to establish the history of the food elevator and the final paper reports of various documents, including the lengthy autopsy report due in several weeks,” the release stated. “Lastly, FCPD will continue to work to learn the final moment leading up to Brooke’s fatal injuries.”

The elevator was permanently removed on Saturday, December 6 at the direction of the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.