At that point, it seems that she pulled a stepladder up to the drop-off box. No one can say for sure — the next time anyone saw Permar, she was dead.
According to police, she stood on the stepladder so she could reach the top of the box. She rummaged through the donated items, even taking some out. Police can’t be sure exactly why — given her choice of car, it wouldn’t seem that she needed to taking clothing from a charity box — but it doesn’t appear this was the first time.
Mount Carmel Township police Chief Brian Hollenbush told the Philadelphia Inquirer that police had received a report of a woman, also driving a black Hummer, removing items from the bin in November.
After allegedly removing several bags filled with clothes and shoes, she slipped as the stepladder collapsed, her arm catching in the door.
“She was fishing bags out and the ladder she was standing on gave way and she couldn’t get her hand loose,” Hollenbush told the Associated Press.
The fall broke her arms and wrists, which were trapped in the box. Her feet, meanwhile, didn’t quite touch the ground, leaving her hanging.
There she dangled until 8:30 the next morning, when she was finally found. Bags were scattered around her, and the Hummer’s engine was still running.
The temperature had dropped to 21 degrees that night, according to Weather Underground.
Permar was pronounced dead at the scene. The county coroner James F. Kelley listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma and hypothermia.
Some who knew Permar expressed surprise at the notion that she may have been taking from the clothing box, including Hollenbush, who said, “It wasn’t something that I would expect to be seeing.”
Her obituary described her as having Protestant faith and being “a very loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister. She was very active and energetic. She loved spending time in the outdoors especially enjoyed gardening, landscaping and taking care of her pond and her many frogs that she loved. She also was an animal lover who adored cats. Judith also was a very good cook and baker. She loved her family and was very supportive of her husband during his career in the U.S. Army.”
In a Facebook post that has apparently been deleted, her daughter Angela Minnig posted the following, according to WNEP.
To the friends and family of Judy Permar:I know it’s in the paper and it’s beginning to spread on social media, but for those who do not know; On Sunday morning my Mother passed away.It was very sudden and our family will learn to coupe with the loss of such an amazing Wife, Mother, Sister, and Friend. We will be updating everyone on her viewing and wish all who knew her to visit and pay her respects.She was such a fun loving person and we know it would mean the world to her to say “See you Again.”
While the accidental death might seem bizarre, similar incidents have occurred in the past. In October 2015, for example, a 58-year-old man’s body was found lodged in a donation bin in New Jersey after he allegedly attempted to take items from the donation site. The same has occurred in San Bernardino County and Sydney.
More from Morning Mix: