The death of a man found in a trash pile at a recycling warehouse early Tuesday appears to have been accidental, Kansas City police said Wednesday.
Police identified the man as Seth Boyer, 36.
Boyer, of Olathe, was a an award-winning filmmaker and had been a production assistant for KSHB-TV in Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. His parents, Lillis and Wayne Boyer of Olathe, said Wednesday their son had a mental illness and resisted medication.
Boyer had been homeless and living downtown, in and out of shelters. He had told his parents he sometimes slept in trash bins.
Police believe Boyer was alive when he was dropped, along with trash bin contents, into a commercial trash truck that picked up 22 loads early Tuesday. The truck picks up bins from businesses, lifts each bin above the back of the open truck and compresses the trash to one end of the truck after each bin is emptied.
The truck dumped its load about 4 a.m. at Material Transfer and Recovery at 4020 Winchester Ave., said homicide Sgt. Barb Eckert. Workers using a front loader soon began sorting the trash for recyclables. They spotted Boyer’s body in the front loader’s bucket about 4:30 a.m. and called police.
The body showed no signs of foul play. The victim had some broken bones, police said. The Jackson County medical examiner will wait for toxicology results before ruling on the cause of death, police said.
Police said homeless people have been known to seek shelter on cold or windy nights inside trash bins, then fall asleep.
Boyer graduated from Maranatha Christian Academy in Shawnee and had a degree in communications from Avila University. He won second place in the college documentary and college music video categories in 1998 at the KAN Film Festival in Lawrence.
That same year, he was among 14 Avila students who built a house for a poor couple in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, as part of a charity called Casas por Cristo.
Boyer also worked for several years as a camera and tape operator at WCTI in New Bern, N.C.