Body of elderly suicide victim mistaken for April Fool's prank

Employees at a Florida apartment block thought a corpse lying in the car park was a mannequin

The body of an elderly woman who took her own life was mistaken for an April Fool’s Day prank, police in Florida have said.

The 96-year-old woman jumped to her death from the 16th floor of the Peterborough Apartments on 4th Avenue North, in St Petersburg, either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Her body was discovered by an overnight desk clerk around 4.30am, but the 61-year-old man thought it was a mannequin that had been placed in the car park as part of an April Fool’s prank and returned to work.

Later, another employee arrived and saw the body, but she also believed it was fake.

Mike Puetz, a police spokesperson, told Fox 13 that the overnight clerk eventually asked a couple delivering newspapers to help put the body into a dumpster. A maintenance worker later discovered the mistake.

“It's a bizarre story, there's no question about it,” Puetz said. “There were actually four separate people that came across this woman and all were apparently fooled to the point where they at least believed that what they were dealing with was not human remains.”

Police said the worker who made the initial mistake will be fired but will not face charges.

Authorities have not yet named the woman, but they said that a suicide note was found in her apartment.

Neighbour Nancy Sanborn, who works as a librarian in the apartment complex, told Fox 13: “I was absolutely devastated. She was such a wonderful, upbeat, polite, gentle, intellectual woman.”

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details

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