Ocean City Today

Fatal balcony fall cause uncertain, autopsy pending

Foul play not suspected in death of Hailee Mitchell
By Greg Ellison | May 17, 2018
Source: File Photo

(May 18, 2018) Police are cautioning safety following the death of a woman who fell from a balcony on 53rd Street Sunday morning.

Police reported Hailee Mitchell, 25, of Towson, died after falling from a fourth-story balcony at approximately 5:55 a.m. on Sunday.

OCPD Public Affairs Officer Lindsay Richard said law enforcement and emergency medical services were dispatched to the first block of 53rd Street for reports of an unconscious subject, later identified as Mitchell, and upon arrival determined the patient was deceased.

Richard said the initial investigation indicated Mitchell fell from an elevated position, but the inquiry is ongoing.

“The autopsy was completed on Monday, but the final determination is pending as they work to get the toxicology results,” she said. “Detectives conducted several interviews with witnesses, processed the scene and found no indication of foul play.”

Although falls are generally isolated incidents, Richard provided a few common-sense tips to help others avoid potentially fatal injuries from balcony falls.

“Unfortunately, there are a couple of falls from balconies every year,” she said. “Keep in mind, we still don’t know for sure how this victim fell, but below are a few general tips citizens can follow to avoid tragedy.”

For starters, Richard said leaning over or sitting on balcony rails should be avoided.

“It is easy to lose your footing unexpectedly,” she said.

Richard also noted elevated balconies and excessive alcohol consumption are often problematic.

“Individuals that are heavily intoxicated quickly lose their sense of judgment and may lean further than they should,” she said. “Intoxication may also cause a person to stumble over the railing leading to tragedy.”

Lastly, Richard advised against using bar-height stools or chairs on balconies, while also highlighting the importance of monitoring youngsters.

“Never leave children unsupervised on balconies,” she said.

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