Police in the Chinese city of Xi'an launched an investigation after a woman’s body was discovered last week inside an elevator at the apartment complex where she lived.
According to local reports, the woman’s corpse was found a month after two maintenance workers “improperly” shut off power to the elevator. The 43-year-old woman, identified only as “Wu,” reportedly starved to death while trapped inside.
In a statement, the Gaoling district government said the malfunctioning elevator was first deactivated on January 30. However, the building’s maintenance crew did not return to repair the machine until March 1, which was when the woman’s body was found.
“The scene [in the elevator] was inhumane,” said Xiaolin, a tenant in the building, per the Shanghaiist. “We think she starved to death in there.”
Another tenant said the woman left scratch marks on the walls of the elevator.
“The paramedics told us that when they found the body, her hand had already begun to deform,” the neighbor, referred to only as “Wang,” said. “It’s just too horrible.”
The maintenance workers' “gross negligence” likely caused the woman's death, police said. As CCTV News noted, the workers were required to open the elevator door before shutting the power off. Instead, the crew reportedly “called out once” to check if anyone was inside.
Two people -- both staff members at the maintenance company -- were arrested and will reportedly face charges of involuntary manslaughter. It's unclear if these two people were the workers involved or management at the company.
What also remains a mystery is how the woman went missing for so long without anyone raising alarm. According to police, the victim lived alone and may have been suffering from a mental illness.