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Cause pending in death of Austintown girl found in landfill

Published: Sat, June 28, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.




Police notified the family of 16-year-old Gina Burger on Friday afternoon that the missing girl’s body had been found in a landfill in Mercer County, Pa.

Her mother, Jaclyn Bacher, said shortly after 3:30 p.m. by phone: “We just got word that that was my daughter.”

A tearful Bacher did not want to say more.

The cause of death is not known at this time.

Austintown Police Chief Robert Gavalier said Burger’s body was found “fully intact” Wednesday afternoon, so police are investigating to find out how she died.

“Toxicology reports take a little bit of time. ... We’re not positive; that’s why we’re waiting to see,” Gavalier said.

He said police were first out at the Compass West Apartments on Monday night when Burger’s disappearance was called in, and then again Wednesday night to canvass the area. Multiple detectives were at the apartment Thursday.

Pennsylvania State Police based in Mercer had been handling the investigation since the body was found Wednesday at Tri-County

Industries in Grove City, Pa.

Tri-County serves nine counties, and the Mercer County coroner’s office had the body.

When The Vindicator talked with Bacher earlier Friday, she discussed the events leading up to her daughter’s disappearance Monday night from Compass West Apartments. Compass West sits off of South Edgehill Avenue and Burkey Road in the township.

Bacher said Burger went to get tea from a neighbor in the complex at 8 p.m. Monday. When she wasn’t back in two hours, the family alerted authorities. According to a police report, the incident was reported at 10:51 p.m. Monday and was designated as an unruly/missing juvenile.

Bacher said multiple detectives were at the family’s residence Thursday, looking in the girl’s bedroom and throughout the apartment complex.

“It fits her description down to the no shoes with the socks,” Bacher told The Vindicator on Friday morning, discussing media reports about the description of the victim found Wednesday in Pennsylvania.

“She would have been back. ... She never stayed out past curfew,” Bacher said of her daughter. She added that Burger had recently moved to the area from Texas and didn’t know many people.

Gavalier said detectives had asked for dental records from the family.

“It’s going to be very tough. ... We’re not sure how she died or where she died,” Gavalier said.

Bacher urged anyone with information to call Austintown police at 330-799-9721.

Gavalier said there is no person of interest in the case right now.

The police chief, when asked if Compass West residents should be fearful, said the Burger case appears to be an isolated incident.

Authorities are awaiting the coroner’s report, he noted, but have sent some evidence from both Ohio and Pennsylvania to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.


1DACOUNTRYBOY(225 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Relaxed standards and liberal views allow the dregs of society to kill at will. A young life taken in this fashion demands justice to its fullest.

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2motherjones(34 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

So sad... so many questions. Why would the police consider it an unruly juvenile or runaway case if she was just getting tea from the neighbors and never return? If I lived there I would be scared, it does not sound like an isolated case to me if the story is what they say it is. Whatever the case no one deserves what this young girl and her family are going through. I have a teenage daughter and they can be very trusting and do not understand the monsters that are out there.

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3southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

A tragic story...praying that those responsible are apprehended.

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4DACOUNTRYBOY(225 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

So her killer isn't one of the dregs of society? This should just pass over and give the killer a chance at another victim? You must be one of the so called in crowd AKA dreg.

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5excel(281 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Only the lowest form of human trash would murder a 16 year old girl. Is the killer a fried of yours gdog? Why else would you support the killer?

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6motherjones(34 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

gdog who it seems it is you making an unnecessary comment.

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7papa1(662 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

the valley has more than its share of scumbags. find the killer and hang the sob at noon and give the public time to pack a picnic lunch. let them see how we treat there kind. animals!!

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