Skip to comments.St. Pete clerk mistakes dead woman for April Fools mannequin
Posted on 04/03/2014 4:33:04 PM PDT by NautiNurse
Twilight Zone: St. Petersburg FL - The desk worker who mistook a dead woman for an April Fool's Day joke and threw the 96 year-old's body into a dumpster has been fired.
Ronald Benjamin confirmed that the Peterborough Apartment complex fired him Wednesday morning.
Benjamin, 61, did not want to say much more to News Channel 8 because he is so distraught about what happened Wednesday. Friends have been at his home, consoling him, throughout the day.
Its one of those crazy circumstances that probably wouldnt replicate itself in a hundred years, said Mike Puetz, St. Petersburg Police spokesperson.
The bizarre incident started Wednesday morning around 4:30 a.m., when Benjamin, a desk clerk at the Peterborough Apartments, located at 440 4th Ave N in St. Petersburg, went out to the parking lot to take a smoke break.
The body of a 96-year-old woman who had jumped from her 16th story apartment was on the ground, but Benjamin didnt process it that way, according to police.
From a distance, he thought this was part of an April Fools prank, Puetz said. He didnt go and investigate. He just thought somebody was trying to prank him and he didnt even want to go check it out because he figured somebody was going to jump out of the bushes and scare him.
Altogether four people would see the body, and were confused by what it was.
Two hours later, around 6:30 a.m., another employee of the apartments came into work, noticed the body, and told Benjamin, who told her someone was just playing a prank, according to police.
Benjamin then asked two people delivering newspapers to help.
He flags them down and actually asks for their assistance in helping move the mannequin to the dumpster, Puetz said.
It wasnt until 8 a.m., when a maintenance man came into work and noticed blood in the parking lot, when everyone realized what was really there.
He goes and looks in the dumpster and sees this is definitely a human being, Puetz said.
The investigation led police to the 96-year-old womans 16th story apartment. They say she pulled a stool up to the window ledge and stepped out. She left a note.
Puetz said no one will face charges in the incident since it was a mistake.
As the body lays there, you have rigor mortis set in, so the body actually becomes stiff, Puetz said. Were talking about a very old woman that probably weighs not very much. So the totality of those issues might have convinced this man he wasnt dealing with a human subject.
Outside the doorway of the apartment tower, friends and neighbors place flowers at a small memorial.
Nancy Sanborn was a friend of the woman and said, just like any loss, this will take time to process. With grief, some seniors are showing forgiveness.
I dont think you can judge people by mistakes, Sanborn said. I wasnt there and Im sure he feels the loss and the tragedy as much as the rest of us.
Sanborn said the woman fled England during World War II, attended college and got her masters degree, then went on to live a very successful life in the corporate world.
Sure, it’s early, but this has got to be a clear front-runner for Weird Story of the Year!
where did this occur again? I need to make absolutely utterly certain that I avoid any contact with the local braindead zombies there!
There’s Dumb..and then there’s NUMB!
It was the mannequin that put the body in the dumpster. As for all (four)... The Zombie Apocalypse is here!
The desk clerk prolly kicked the mannequin a few times to make sure it wasn’t a dead body.
Obama Zombies with just enough function to pass as employable adults..
I’m sitting in the Pizza Hut waiting to pickup a pizza...and just laughed out loud.
Rigor mortis + light weight + similar Halloween pranks in the news + April Fools Day + normalcy bias.
It all adds up.
Just like liberalism - only liberals are throwing out their freedoms, thinking they’re a prank.
Jeez, the same mistake could EASILY be made by the staff of the US Senate’s Sergeant at Arms office if they came across the corpse like persona of Harry Reid sleeping.
I can’t fathom struggling through 96 years and then just ending it all. How the hell much longer could she have possibly had?
God have mercy on her.
What was he smoking?
God have mercy on her.
When people reach this age, and we don't know of her physical health, and have lost the ability to do the normal things they used are at high risk. They need family support to give them a reason to continue and push through the pain. It sounds like she was all alone, God keep her close.
I call BS.
I don’t care how “light” the poor old Lady was, you KNOW a dead body, when you see, touch a DEAD BODY!
Please somebody with a rusty spoon go neuter/spay these BRAIN DEAD a$$holes. They are a threat to National Security.
A Classmate of mine committed suicide by laying down on a train track, on Oct. 30, got sliced in half. It took two days before somebody realized he wasn’t a Halloween dummy, staged as a prop :(