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mannequinStPetersburg, FL – A desk clerk at an apartment complex thought the body of a 96-year-old woman found in the parking lot was an April Fool’s prank, so he tossed her body in a dumpster.

While taking a smoke break, 61-year-old Ronald Benjamin noticed the woman’s body lying in the parking lot. Thinking it was a mannequin placed there as an April Fool’s prank, Benjamin finished his cigarette and returned to his desk.

What he did not know was the body was not a prank. The body belonged to a 96-year-old woman who had been suffering from depression and had jumped to her death from the 16th floor.

A couple hours later, at around 6:30 a.m., another employee saw the woman’s body and told Benjamin about it. He told her not to worry, explaining to her that it was just a prank. A mannequin probably placed there by some drunks after the bars closed.

When a teen stopped by to deliver the paper, Benjamin asked him if would help dispose of the mannequin. Benjamin grabbed the shoes, the teen grabbed a handful of clothing, and the two tossed the woman’s body in a nearby dumpster.

At around 8 a.m., a maintenance worker looked inside the dumpster and discovered the horrible truth. Benjamin had already left work by then, so he was called back to the apartment complex and informed of his mistake.

Benjamin was stunned. He explained that he was convinced the woman’s body was a fake as it weighed next to nothing, and the face looked like a mask.

“I’m telling you, I swear to God, the face looked like a rubber mask,” he told reporters Wednesday evening. “If I thought for one instant it was a real person I would have called the police, my manager, everyone I could think of.”

Police believe injuries the woman suffered in the fall, combined with the effects of rigor mortis, are factors that convinced Benjamin he was not dealing with a real body.

The woman is not being identified at this time, but friends say she’s lived at the complex for many years and had the mental acuity of a woman half her age. They also said she’d been depressed and suicidal lately. A suicide note was found her room, according to police.

Although no criminal charges will be filed against Benjamin for his faux pas, he was fired from his job as a desk clerk at the apartment complex after having worked there for nine years.

Someone give Benjamin a job, for God’s sake. This is Florida we’re talking about! We’re lucky he didn’t mistake that poor woman’s body for a delicious breakfast sandwich.

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  • Scout Kent

    Why the hell would you fire the poor guy?

  • itsknotme

    “… had the mental acuity of a woman half her age.”

    Well, that explains the suicide. At 96, she needs to stop worrying about her teenage daughter getting pregnant, her son going off to war, and her husband cheating on her.

  • Lena60

    Mannequin? How the hell can you mistake a dead body for a mannequin when your up close.Shouldn’t the brain matter broken bones and blood clue you in? Sorry Morbid, not to be picky but, fix this sentence. ( a suicide not was found her room.)

  • Lena60

    Maybe Benjamin can get a job folding socks? Yeah Buffetgirl I went there :p

  • Stanley_Ipkiss

    I think its a bit unfair to fire the guy..After all he wasnt the only person to see it without realising it was an actual corpse..another employee saw it and a teen helped him throw it into the dumpster so maybe in this instance it actually was an easy mistake to make. Maybe now he could train as a mortician or something just.

  • MilfOf2

    Over an honest mistake, poor guy. Also who the hell commits suicide at 96 years old??? Really lady you were so close, so close.

  • link07

    Why fire the guy.

  • Dre Mosley

    Fired? For what?

  • Taster’sChoice

    I wondered that too as well- the part about the body being real, not the mistake Morbid made. I think he intentionally makes one per story so those of us bothered by it enough recognize it. Kind of like the where’s waldo of the DD.

  • Taster’sChoice

    Not making her into a breakfast sandwich or something…

  • Lena60

    lol ,yeah he likes to keep us on our toes.

  • Lena60

    ICK!

  • Lena60

    Because he is an idiot and a liability.

  • Buffettgirl

    Hey, them are some high demand jobs don’tcha know? ;-)

  • Buffettgirl

    I don’t think they should have fired him, the poor man is going to be wracked with guilt for the rest of his life. And he will be forever known as the fucking moron that thought a dead body was a mannequin, that’s punishment enough I would guess…

  • Jessie

    That’s probably exactly why she did it. No point draggin it out?

  • thebossessecretary

    I’m sorry. I guess I’m kind of an asshole, but this guy looking at the corpse over and over again and deciding it was a prank was amusing, because I can just see myself doing that. It’s even sicker that he left her out there, thinking it was a dummy or something. Sorry, guy, life is even weirder that you originally imagined.

  • tkaz

    You know how you look when there’s a bug crawling on you? All crazy arms & screaming?

    Yeah, I’d look like that after I realized I touched a dead body.

  • itsknotme

    Do they test for color blindness or will all socks be white?

  • glitterpuss

    Yeah, I can’t picture mistaking a corpse for a mannequin. Dead bodies are stiff, that’s why they call them stiffs. Plenty of old ladies are skin and bones and easy to lift. The maintenance worker figured it out and he’s not a homicide detective. So I kind of agree that someone who would physically remove a dead body and brush it off as a super realistic gag is a liability.

  • glitterpuss

    True.

  • Buffettgirl

    IKR? That would be a case of the heebie-jeebies you might never get rid of!

  • Buffettgirl

    Sadly, none of these stellar jobs ever materialized, I don’t have the answer to your deep and well thought out question. I apologize profusely. I shall forever be ashamed of myself for not being able to assist you further… (do you believe me? ;-P)

  • Eliza Berntsen

    You never know. She could have lived for another decade.

  • Benighted

    The nearest thing I have seen to a corpse was my mom a few weeks before she died. She weighed next to nothing, she was cool to the touch and her skin was waxy. I could see where someone who hasn’t experienced that or seen a dead body might make an error of judgement like that, especially once rigor had set in and made the body stiff. And on April Fool’s Day. He’s gonna be beating himself up for that for a long time.

  • BrittBrittRoss

    Wait. He worked at the complex for 9 years, she lived there for 19, & he didn’t recognize her? Hmmm….

  • DeadlockVictim

    But if they kept him on, they’d have to pin “Not a Mannequin” notes on all the other residents.

  • mean birch

    The dummy thought it was a mannequin. Haha

  • rohl

    I read way to much (well over a thousand books and countless articles dating back to actual newspapers). “We’re lucky he didn’t mistake that poor woman’s body for a delicious breakfast sandwich,” is the best line I have ever had the joy of reading. Hands down number one; just brilliant!

  • Leasha

    So there was no blood at all after falling 16 stories?? Just doesn’t sound right. I’m not the brightest tool in the shed, but I could pick a body from a mannequin even in my most plastered state of mind.

  • Sejanus

    Fired over this? WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sweekymom

    How many companies out there are making mannequins that look like 96-year-old women? This guy must be dumber than a bag of broken bricks.

  • glitterpuss

    She was most likely a recluse, might have had assistance with errands.

  • julie

    He shouldn’t have been fired, he was being conscientious and keeping the work place clean. Now if he put the body in his car thinking someone had discarded a blow up doll, that would be a whole other thing. Poor old lady, there are so many other ways to kill yourself, I’m always puzzled why suicide victims don’t take a nicer way out, o.d on sleeping pills or something?