Body found in airport elevator shaft: Tampa International (TPA) elevator door was 'compromised'

TAMPA - Inspection of the elevator shaft where a man was found dead revealed a broken lock on the seventh floor door.  

The body of Chad Wolfe, 31, of West Newton, PA was discovered Friday morning.  

Investigators have determined that shortly after midnight Friday, Wolfe entered an elevator on the third floor of the main terminal that stopped on the seventh floor of the Short Term Parking Garage.

The State of Florida inspection report, dated March 18, said the failure poses an 'imminent' danger of falling.

Inspectors wrote, "Hoistway Door Locking Device failed to keep the hoistway door locked. During inspection the 7th floor hoistway doors opened when pulling doors in the open direction by hand. This poses an imminent danger to the riding public of falling, crushing and shearing."

Maintenance workers discovered the victim around 10:00 a.m., after reports that another elevator, adjacent to the one Chad took, had stopped functioning.

Chad's father, Garland, told ABC Action News his son flew out of Pittsburgh on Thursday night along with his girlfriend, Jessica Price. The couple had a layover in Georgia and arrived in Tampa shortly before midnight on Delta flight 2233.

Garland says airport police told him Chad pried open the elevator doors and fell to his death.  However, Garland said 'he didn't believe that' because his son only weighed 150 pounds and didn't have the strength.  He added that when he spoke to his son's girlfriend, she also provided conflicting information.

The girlfriend allegedly told Garland that Chad had a drink on the plane and taken a Xanax to help him fly.

Apparently, Chad's girlfriend told him to wait on the main concourse while she retrieved her checked luggage from baggage claim.  When she returned, Chad was gone.  After searching for him, according to Garland, she alerted airport police of his disappearance.

Chad's carry-on bag was found on the seventh floor of the airport, which serves as a short-term parking lot.  Car rental offices are on the ground floor of the airport, adjacent to baggage claim.

Chad's remains are now back in Pennsylvania.  A visitation will be held for him Thursday and he will be laid to rest Friday.

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