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Police: Fatal fall from Penn Hills apartment building a suicide

Wes Venteicher
| Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, 2:03 p.m.
First responders secure the scene where a woman apparently fell to her death from the Penn Arbors senior apartment building on Frankstown Road in Penn Hills, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
First responders secure the scene where a woman apparently fell to her death from the Penn Arbors senior apartment building on Frankstown Road in Penn Hills, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.
Penn Arbors apartment building in Penn Hills (submitted)
apartments.com
Penn Arbors apartment building in Penn Hills (submitted)

Penn Hills police believe a woman who fell to her death from an apartment building Thursday afternoon committed suicide.

Police Chief Howard Burton said investigators concluded the woman jumped from the 11th floor window of the Penn Arbors building, a senior living complex on Frankstown Road, shortly after 1:30 p.m.

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office identified her as Harriet Mirkin, 68.

The Tribune-Review does not report on suspected suicides unless they occur in a public way.

A woman arriving at the complex, Beth Bogden, 58, of Hazelwood, to visit her fiancé saw the woman standing with her back to an open window on the top floor.

Bogden said the woman's right hand was above her head and her head was turned to the right. She said the woman abruptly fell out backward. She turned her head to avoid watching the fall.

“I just saw her go back, and I said, ‘Oh no,' and I turned my head,” she said.

Penn Hills police did not respond to requests for more information Thursday afternoon.

Residents of the senior living complex said the woman had only lived in the building for a few weeks.

The Section 8-eligible building was inspected by the U.S. Housing Department of Housing and Urban Development last September. The agency rated the building 97 out of 100, finding “non life-threatening health and safety deficiencies.”

Employees in the building declined an interview request.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.