Body found in Mercer County identified as missing Ohio teen
Police on Friday identified a girl found dead in a Mercer County garbage dump as a teenager reported missing from Ohio.
Gina Burger, 16, was reported missing by her mother on Monday from their home in the Compass West apartment complex, a multi-story building, Austintown police Chief Robert Gavalier said.
“Her mother said she wouldn't run away, so she reported her as missing,” Gavalier said. “We are trying to figure out what happened and where it happened.”
Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle III said Burger died of a single stab wound in the chest and ruled the case a homicide. Investigators identified the girl through serial numbers on steel rods placed in her back during an operation in Texas several years ago, he said.
Burger's body was found Wednesday at the Tri-County Industries Inc. site along TCI Park Drive in Pine Township. Pennsylvania State Police said this week they believe the body was dumped after midnight Tuesday by one of the company's trucks, which collects trash from parts of Northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio. Gavalier confirmed there are Tri-County bins in the area.
“Her mother told her to go to a neighbor's to get some bags of tea. She went downstairs and never returned,” Gavalier said.
Her mother reported her missing a few hours later, he said.
The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown briefly interviewed Burger's mother on Friday.
“We just got word that that was my daughter,” a tearful Jaclyn Bacher told the paper just after 3:30 p.m. but declined to say more.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.