Student found dead in restaurant dumbwaiter

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — Authorities looking into the death of a Winona State University student at a western Wisconsin restaurant haven’t found a witness to explain how the woman ended up in a food elevator, according to the chief investigator.

Fountain City Police Officer Jason Mork said Wednesday he has interviewed about half of the customers and employees present at the WingDam Saloon and Grill Monday night, and that, so far, no one saw how the student entered the dumbwaiter.

The student, 21-year-old Brooke Baures, worked at the restaurant that is just north of Winona, Minnesota. Baures was a senior majoring in social work and a standout gymnast.

Autopsy results were pending Wednesday. Mork said there is no immediate indication any crime was committed.

Buffalo County sheriff’s dispatchers got a series of 911 calls about 9 p.m. Monday from the restaurant, where there was a banquet being held on the second floor. The dumbwaiter is used to shuttle drinks and food to the second floor.

Mork said he has talked face-to-face with about 14 of the 28 potential witnesses and said there was no indication how or why Baures entered the food elevator. It was not something employees had done in the past, he said.

The university planned an 8 p.m. candlelight vigil Wednesday at the alumni gazebo in the center of the campus. The university said students, friends and others wishing to pay their respects to Baures are welcome.

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