A Florida desk clerk mistook the body of a 96-year-old woman for a mannequin that was set out as an April Fool’s joke, according to St. Petersburg police.
The woman’s body was found around 4:30 a.m. outside her apartment building when the clerk took a smoke break. Her body was lying in the building’s south parking lot.
Two hours after the first sighting, another employee spotted the body and was also convinced that it was a prank. The clerk and a pair of newspaper deliverers then lifted the body, which they believed was a mannequin covered in fake blood, into a dumpster.
Around 8 a.m., an apartment maintenance worker found the woman’s body and realized it was human.
"Most people that are looking at this are going to assume that these people are all fools,” St. Pete Police Department spokesperson Mike Puetz said. “But honestly it does appear that this was just an honest mistake.”
Police believed that darkness at the time the body was initially discovered contributed to the confusion. Additionally, the body had been distorted and rigor mortis had already set in.
Police reported that the woman had been depressed and that she left a suicide note before jumping from the 16th floor.