A desk clerk at an apartment complex in St. Petersburg, Fla., was fired after tossing a dead body into a dumpster because he thought it was just an April Fools’ day prank.
Ronald Benjamin, 61, first saw the body when he took a smoking break around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, but thought it was fake.
“I’m telling you, I swear to God, the face looked like a rubber mask,” he toldTampaBay.com. “If I thought for one instant it was a real person I would have called the police, my manager, everyone I could think of.”
The body that Benjamin thought was a mannequin belonged to a 96-year-old woman who lived at the complex. Sometime in the middle of the night, the unidentified woman committed suicide by jumping off her 16th floor balcony.
Another employee showed up around 6:30 a.m. and noticed the woman’s body, but Benjamin said the body was a bad joke. Benjamin then enlisted two people delivering newspapers to help him put the woman’s body into a Dumpster.
It wasn’t until 8 a.m. that apartment maintenance worker Johnny Williams, 42, found the body in the Dumpster, according to WTSP-TV.
Police were called to the scene. Investigators found a suicide note and a stool she used to climb over the balcony wall.
The woman’s name will not be released until her family can be notified of her death. Neighbors said she was from England and sometimes talked about World War II. She lived at the apartment complex for at least 20 years, TBO.com reports.
Charges will not be filed against Benjamin because detectives believe he sincerely thought the woman’s body was a mannequin. Rigor mortis had set in by the time he moved it to the Dumpster.
However, he was fired from his job of nine years, according to the ABA Journal.