Now, authorities are trying to determine if the man was pushed.
The incident started when the man was reported missing by his daughter, and police searched the entire building from roof to basement. That's when they made the gruesome discovery at the top of the day's trash.
"He was a very good man," neighbor Marilyn Rodriguez said. "Very loved by everybody in here."
Rodriguez now fears a killer is on the loose in her building. Residents think it would be impossible to get oneself inside the chute, which is also equipped with a spring latch.
"You'd have to be shoved in there," resident Jay Holver said. "This compact is [small]...so to fit you down in there, you'd really have to be forced in."
There is a doorman at the Clinton Towers, so no one can stalk the hallways unannounced. That only adds to the mystery of how this 52-year-old man could walk steps from his apartment to take out the trash and wind up at the bottom of the chute.
Luckily, the body was discovered before being covered by a mountain of trash and taken away.
"That's impossible," Rodriguez said. "It's impossible. There's no way he could've done it by himself. No way. I mean, even the police don't believe it."
People who know the victim describe him as a loving and hard-working father. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death, which will hopefully shed light onto whether or not this is a homicide.
WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King