Fla. Clerk Who Mistook Body For Mannequin Fired

By: Associated Press News Email
By: Associated Press News Email

Associated Press News Release

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Tribune (http://bit.ly/1sgrkrQ ) reports a 61-year-old front desk clerk has been fired after mistaking the body of a tenant for a mannequin and then throwing it in a trash bin.

Ronald Benjamin told police he saw the body in the parking lot of the 16-story St. Petersburg apartment building early Wednesday and assumed someone put a mannequin there as part of an April Fool's Day prank.

A co-worker arrived and told him a body was in the parking lot but he insisted it was a mannequin. He got a newspaper carrier and her son to help him toss the body in the garbage. A maintenance worker saw the body and called authorities.

Police say a 96-year-old woman committed suicide by jumping from her apartment balcony.


CBS News Copy

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Authorities say a clerk who thought the dead body of a woman was a mannequin placed outside an apartment complex as an April Fools' Day prank enlisted the help of two others to throw the body into a dumpster.

St. Petersburg police reported in a news release that the Peterborough Apartments clerk first spotted the 96-year-old woman's body during a smoke break around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Thinking it was a joke, he returned to work without notifying anyone. Two hours later, another employee told the clerk about the body, but he insisted it was a prank. The clerk and a couple delivering newspapers then moved the body to a nearby dumpster.

According to CBS affiliate WTSP, detectives believe the clerk and another man who assisted in moving the victim possibly mistook the victim for a mannequin because rigor mortis had set in.

Finally around 8 p.m., a maintenance worker saw the body in the dumpster and realized it wasn't a mannequin.

Police found a suicide note in the woman's apartment. It appeared she used a stool to jump from the 16th-floor window.


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