The Truly Horrific Crime Scene Of Phoebe Handsjuk

Phoebe Handsjuk was only 24 when her bewildering death shocked Australia. On December 2, 2010, the Melbourne native fell down a trash chute in what the coroner later ruled a "freak accident" (per News Australia). However, the circumstances surrounding her death led to more questions than answers for her family and the media. According to Marie Claire Australia, Handsjuk is remembered by her loved ones for her dynamic and sensitive personality. Nevertheless, they also acknowledge that she was a troubled individual and she was known to have experienced alcoholism. 

At the time of her death, Handsjuk was in a relationship with Antony Hampel. The couple lived together at the luxurious Balancea Apartments in Melbourne. News Australia reports that it's unclear what exactly occurred in Handsjuk's final hours. The Daily Mail notes that it's known that Handsjuk had been drinking during the day of her death. At one point, a fire alarm went off in her apartment and she took her dog and left. She eventually returned and at around 7 p.m. she somehow fell down the apartment trash chute. What happened next is nothing short of terrifying for both Handsjuk and the person who found her body (per The Sunday Morning Herald).

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Phoebe Handsjuk survived the initial fall

According to The Sunday Morning Herald, Handsjuk fell 40 meters, or about 131 feet, before landing in her apartment building's trash room. Remarkably, this fall did not kill her. News Australia reports that Handsjuk ended up in the trash compactor and then into a bin. The trash compactor almost severed her foot, causing extensive bleeding. Despite this, Handsjuk managed to get out of the trash bin and attempted to crawl out of the room. Tragically, she was unable to get help. Handsjuk bled out from her injuries and died. She was discovered by a concierge worker who initially believed that her lifeless body was a mannequin.

The Sunday Morning Herald adds that her jeans were found around her knees. That being said, it's unknown why Handsjuk entered the trash chute in the first place, but it's believed she did so feet first (via Phoebe Handsjuk). Per Marie Claire Australia, it was later determined that Handsjuk had Stilnox, a prescription sedative in her system. In addition, she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16, which is more than three times the legal driving limit.

Police first surmised that Handsjuk had died by suicide. However, the coroner ruled that Handsjuk's death was accidental. He believed that drugs and alcohol were to blame. The coroner stated that Handsjuk was in a "sleepwalking state" when she got inside the trash chute. Handsjuk's family, on the other hand, refused to accept this conclusion.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Her family believes her death was not an accident

In an interview with Marie Claire Australia, Handsjuk's mother Natalie stated, "We are being told that our daughter, granddaughter and sister put herself into this thing because she was a damaged, disturbed girl and it's just not true. I don't know what happened, I just feel sure she didn't put herself down that chute, either accidentally or on purpose." In fact, Handsjuk's family believes that the police did not thoroughly investigate her death. The Sunday Morning Herald reports that blood was found inside Handsjuk's apartment. Not all of it was tested nor was there any effort to uncover where it came from.

Furthermore, The Sunday Morning Herald adds that the CCTV footage recorded on the night of Handsjuk's death later went missing. Oddly, the trash chute had no fingerprints on it. According to News Australia, the authorities failed to look into Handsjuk's electronics. Her family later found that all of her emails had been deleted. Moreover, Handsjuk was known to have two phones. Only one of them has ever been found. There is also the question of how Handsjuk, who was under the influence, was able to get herself into the trash chute.

Marie Claire Australia notes that suspicion fell on her boyfriend, Hampel. Reports indicate that the pair had a tumultuous relationship. Per The Sunday Morning Herald, Hampel also did not want an inquest to be held. However, Hampel has been cleared of any wrongdoing. Handsjuk's family has not given up hope for justice. Her mother explained, "Karma will come to whoever has been involved, we just have to be patient."