Luke was only 15 years old when he was killed on May 12, 1995, just five days into his first summer job. Hired to retrieve the cardboard from amongst the garbage after it was dumped from the trucks on a platform above him onto the large dome where he worked, when Luke “failed to return from coffee break”, they notified his father (who was a heavy equipment mechanic in another section of the large waste management plant) that something might be wrong. Having spoken with him earlier that morning Luke’s father said he knew instinctively where to start looking. Digging through the mounds of garbage, he was the one who uncovered his only child’s body – his hardhat still on and his hands at his side. We would later discover Luke had never gone to coffee break, but had laid dead for over an hour, buried beneath the garbage. Luke died from traumatic asphyxiation –– the result of his windpipe being crushed when he was buried under a mountain of garbage.
“At 6 feet tall and just over 200 pounds, like us, Luke thought he was invincible. Little did we know that a summer job that was supposed to earn him enough money to purchase his first car when he turned 16 that September would end up taking his life instead. Not only did my brother lose his only child that day, he could never bring himself to return to his job.”