Body of Petaluma homeless woman found dead at donation box


A homeless woman, apparently trying to retrieve items from a clothing donation box in north Petaluma on Wednesday, got stuck halfway into the container and died, Petaluma police said.

Authorities identified her as Kaily Land, 30, and said she has no known address but frequently was seen in the city and around the area of the donation box.

Police were called about 6:40 a.m. to where the large green container was sitting outside the Steel Bear Deli & Country Store on Old Redwood Highway, between McDowell Boulevard and Highway 101. Officers found half of Land’s body, clad in jeans and boots, dangling outside the container while her torso still was inside. A flashlight, still turned on, was discovered at the bottom, suggesting she had been searching for items inside the box.

“It looks like at some point, the lady tried to climb in there,” Petaluma police Sgt. Paul Gilman said. “She got pinched.”

After pulling her out, officers found a mark on her neck, showing how she likely died, Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said.

“The lid of the box was pushed up against her neck, which may have caused her to suffocate. But we won’t know the exact cause of death until the autopsy,” Lyons said. “It definitely appeared her body got trapped inside and cut her in the neck and cut off her air supply.”

The opening in which Land became stuck is for people to put things into but is not designed in a way that allows items to be removed, Gilman said.