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Teen girl found at trash site was stabbed to death

June 28, 2014 News Extra

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PINE TWP, Mercer County — The female body discovered at a Mercer County waste disposal facility has been identified as an Ohio teen who was fatally stabbed.

Police in Austintown Township, Mahoning County, confirmed that the body found Wednesday at the Tri-County Industries waste transfer station outside of Grove City was Gina Burger, 16, of Austintown Township.

Police Chief Robert Gavalier said Burger went missing Monday night. She was last seen about 8 p.m. when she left her apartment on foot. She was reported missing by her mother, Jaclyn Bacher, about 11 p.m.

Investigators were able to identify Burger by tracing numbers on steel rods surgically placed in her back in a surgery in Texas.

Bacher told the Youngstown Vindicator newspaper that her daughter moved to the township, which borders Youngstown, from Texas in December and she didn't know many people.

The mother told the Vindicator that her daughter left the apartment to get tea bags from a neighbor and never returned.

Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle III says the girl was stabbed in the chest.

Gavalier said the teen had not yet started school in Ohio.

Workers at Tri-County Industries discovered her body Wednesday afternoon while loading trash into trucks at the company's waste transfer station on TCI Park Drive.

“We don't know what happened to her or how she ended up in Pennsylvania,” Gavalier said. “We just found out at 2:30 p.m. (Friday) that it was our girl.”

Gavalier said Friday that he knew little else about the girl or where she died.

He added the department still was awaiting the entire medical examiner's report. Also, he said there were no suspects as of yet.

The department was contacted by the Erie County coroner, who did the autopsy for Mercer County.

Gavalier said Austintown Police since have been in contact with the Pennsylvania State Police, who investigated the death after the body was found.

State police said the body was likely dumped at the waste transfer station between midnight and 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The station collects trash from nine counties, spanning as far east as Clarion County and as far west as Youngstown, and north to Erie.

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