Written by: Jenae
Trigger Warnings: Discussions of suicidal thoughts/actions, self-harm, drugs, sexual assault, and unhealthy/abusive relationships
Disclaimer: This article is complied of available information about this case, as well as writer interpretations of information. All sources can be found at the end of this article. This is not intended to be taken as legal accusations or claims, simply opinion and speculation.
Phoebe Handsjuk was born to parents Natalie and Lenn on May 9th, 1986. Later, Natalie and Lenn went on to have two little boys, Phoebe’s brothers. They lived a normal life, kids grew up in Melbourne, AU in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Her father is a psychiatrist. Phoebe’s family describes her as adventurous, more so than the two boys. She was prone to a wild streak, but not in a bad way, she kinda liked to do what she wanted. Out of anyone, Phoebe was closest to her grandmother, Jeanette.
Around age 14, Phoebe began to struggle with partying, as she was going to clubs with friends and using a fake ID. She was experimenting with alcohol and drugs, like most teenagers. By 15, she was using MDMA, weed, drinking, and speed. She even ran away from home at this time, to be with an ex-con she met and his family. Shortly after this, she came home. She was struggling with mood swings and ended up being put on antidepressants at 16, which was discouraged by her parents. According to Phoebe’s family, she became fixated on older men and being around them. Around this time, Phoebe’s parents split, making it more difficult to cope. At 16, she was dating a married teacher in his 30s. Even Phoebe’s parents say that she “struggled to cope” with most things, stating that she was just “too sensitive”. She was known to enjoy the artsy side of life through painting and writing poetry and she had a knack for climbing.
At 23, Phoebe began a job as a receptionist at a salon owned by celebrity stylist, Linley Godfrey. At this salon, she met Ant Hampel, an events promoter who was a regular at the salon. Shortly after meeting, they begin dating. This relationship begins months before the end of Phoebe’s life. Ant Hampel was 40 years old at the time and he is the child of a retired AU Supreme Court judge and his stepmother is a county court judge in AU.
After five months of dating, Phoebe moves into Hampel’s home. Many around the pair said that it seemed mismatched, Ant was someone very concerned with appearances while Phoebe was less worried about that. Phoebe began discussing her relationship with those around her. Phoebe was an artist, someone who, like my mom, loved doing crafts and art and was often found comfort in the mess these things can bring. Her therapist even remembers Phoebe saying that Ant was verbally abusive, quick to put her down and make her feel unworthy and unintelligent. Phoebe shared with many close to her that she was unhappy and struggling.
Ant claims that Phoebe had a long history of issues with drugs and alcohol, but Phoebe’s mother Natalie states that the drinking increased after beginning to date Ant and she thought this was due to the social anxiety that came with being around Ant’s friends. Phoebe discussed the levels of control Ant took in a short amount of time, including making Phoebe quit her job at the salon because it was “beneath them” for her to be a receptionist. Phoebe made this struggle in her relationship very clear to those who knew and loved her. She even attempted to leave a total of four times in the six weeks before she tragically lost her life, only to be talked back into returning to the apartment by Ant. Ant stays firm that there was no such issues in their relationship and that essentially, Phoebe was a troubled girl who couldn’t handle her life and therefore took it. But many people, including the family of Phoebe Handsjuk, disagree with that ruling. So how did Phoebe Handsjuk end up dead at the bottom of her luxury apartment’s trash chute, bleeding out for hours before anyone would come near her possibly still living body?
On December 2nd, 2010, shortly after 7pm, the concierge at the luxury apartment complex that Phoebe and Ant lived in was seeking out a broom to clean up, something they usually kept in the garbage room. When she tries to open the door, she finds it stuck and can’t get in. She gives it a shove and all she sees in the room is the floor covered in blood and what’s she’s hoping is a mannequin. Unfortunately, the body she’s stumbled upon is of 24-year-old Phoebe Handsjuk.
Phoebe had fallen from 12 stories up, where Ant and Phoebe’s apartment was located, through the trash chute. She actually survived the fall and was only hit twice by the compactor. What she was unable to survive was the large blade of the trash compactor, which had nearly severed her right foot. This injury would be deadly, and Phoebe died alone and in darkness while she attempted to find an exit. Her cause of death was ultimately blood loss.
The day before this tragedy, she (or whoever had her phone) sent this message to her family:
Hi family, I am in bed, about to sleep and when I wake I will transform into the most incredible human bein’ you’ve ever seen. I will go to hospital. It’s safer there and I hear that the special tonight is tomato soup. Delicious! Nutritious! I love you all very much, but not enough to send an individual text. Sorry about that but time is sleep and I must be on my way. Merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream. Xo.
Ant claims that Phoebe was sleeping off a drinking binge when he left for work that morning. The only time she is seen in public on this date is when the fire alarm goes off around 12pm and Phoebe is seen outside with the couple’s dog. After this, she’s isn’t seen until her body is found.
Phoebe and Ant had plans in the evening, a dinner with Phoebe’s father to celebrate his birthday. Ant says that when he arrived home around 6pm, Phoebe’s purse, wallet, and keys were on the kitchen counter but Phoebe was gone. Along with all this, Ant claims to have found pieces of broken glass with blood on them on the computer keyboard when he came home. Ant then orders takeout for one from the same restaurant that he and Phoebe were supposed to meet Phoebe’s father at, gets himself a beer, and surfs the web. Once the takeout arrives, the delivery person tells him that the police are downstairs. Then the sad excuse for an investigation starts.
First, they didn’t quarantine the crime scene so Ant’s apartment was teeming with friends and family shortly after Phoebe’s death. The coroner determine that Phoebe had gotten into the garbage chute, feet first and of her own accord, ruling the tragic death a suicide. He claimed that she had gotten in between 12:03pm-7pm. When discovered, Phoebe’s pants were at her knees, but the coroner determined there were no signs of sexual assault. The coroner also found that there was a sleeping pill called Stillnox in Phoebe’s system as well as a blood alcohol level of 0.16. (twice the legal limit for driving. Similar to Ambien, Stillnox can make people do things that they would normally do in their sleep like walking, eating, or even driving. This is important later.)
Police were quick to rule this as a open and shut suicide case. But Phoebe’s family, including her grandfather Lorne Campbell, a retired homicide detective who had served for over 30 years, didn’t and still don’t believe police did their job in the case of their beloved Phoebe.
Lorne Campbel was quick to become involved in his granddaughter’s case and found that many things simply didn’t add up. There were no fingerprints on the stainless steel chute door on the 12th floor, like it had been wiped clean. The CCTV footage from the day of was never collected and there was no collection of the electronics in the house, even though they could’ve provided some insight. Phoebe’s phone was never found and neither was the SIM card used for their shared phone, despite police instructing Ant hold on to this SIM card specifically. There were large footprints found leaving the apartment that were never tested. Lorne even met up with two of Phoebe’s friends and tested the ability for a person to get into the chute on their own.
After her death, Ant made himself the next of kin for Phoebe and the courts allowed it because he was in a relationship with Phoebe, even if it only lasted roughly a year. Because of this, Phoebe’s family was not allowed to see records from autopsy or receive updates on the portions that involved Phoebe’s body. However, he did (his words, not mine) “allow” Phoebe’s parents to keep her ashes once she had been cremated. He didn’t invite Phoebe’s family to the memorial that he held for her, one that friends say didn’t even feel like it was for Phoebe. The family held their own memorial, which they sent Phoebe’s spirit off like a viking, ablaze on the water.
The inquest into Phoebe’s death began in 2013. This involved testimonies of those closest to Phoebe in her final days and hearing from the coroner again. Ant participated in the inquest, against his lawyer’s wishes. Though he participated, Ant tried to block the inquest many times. The family says that they weren’t even looking at Ant as a suspect, they just wanted answers on what happened to their daughter.
Despite all we’ve heard today, the coroner still ruled Phoebe’s death a suicide. He claims that Phoebe got herself into the chute in a “sleep-walk like state” and tossed herself to the bottom of the chute. But if even in shape, sober people struggled to get in there, how was Phoebe able to do it and how was she able to do it without leaving fingerprints on the stainless steel? This simply doesn’t add up. One focus of the inquest is that Phoebe liked to climb things, a fact that was used to prove that she had climbed in there herself. The family, unable to afford to lose an appeal if they did, didn’t appeal the verdict. Part of this was financial, but the other part is that the family struggled to find someone who hadn’t been in contact with Ant’s parents at one time or another. They believed they couldn’t get an unbiased appeal so they chose to stick with the ruling.
This is kind of where Phoebe’s story ends. Even with the fishy circumstances, authorities continue to push the narrative that Phoebe ended her life and it remains one of the most mysterious deaths in AU history.
Baillee Schneider was a 25 year old model and dancer living in Melbourne at in 2018. If you take a peek at Bailee’s social media, you’ll find a beautiful young girl having fun, living life, and photos of her and boyfriend Ant Hampel. In June 2018, Baillee’s parents would come home to a sight no one should have to see, their daughter slumped over the kitchen floor with a gold rope around her neck, dead.
When Baillee’s parents left that morning, Baillee had been sitting on the couch with the family dog, on her phone. While Baillee’s parents were out at the store, Baillee had a glass of wine and a cigarette and listened to something on her bluetooth speaker before she died. Baillee had not left a note. The evening before Baillee’s death, she had been out at a party with boyfriend Ant Hampel, where they had argued. While they had been dating for 9 months, Hampel and Baillee kept a low profile about their relationship. According to those closest to her, Baillee was struggling in the months leading up to her death including issues with mental health and substance use. While these were struggles, Baillee’s family has struggled to cope with the loss of their daughter, sister, and friend.
Three weeks before her death, Baillee took out a life insurance policy on herself. Before her death, Baillee came home in the early hours of the morning, upset. She then received a call, walked around the front of the house, and left in a car with a man that none of her family recognized. Hampel received a concerning text from Baillee and contacted her sister. Baillee had shared with her sister that she had been sexually assaulted, even reporting to the authorities. Later, Baillee withdrew this complaint. Baillee didn’t want Hampel to know about this.
The final post on Baillee’s Facebook page, posted on 6/15/18, just five days before her death read as follows:
“How about it's just not ok to assault and murder women!! How are women supposed to come forward about rape and assault when the police make comments like this and victim blame...".
This post was apparently in response to a female comedian being raped and murdered in the Melbourne area. During this time, Melbourne authorities encouraged women to stay inside to minimize risk of victimization. When autopsied, officials found cocaine and alcohol in her system. Currently, her death is under investigation as a homicide.
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