Woman's Suicide Mistaken For April Fools' Joke

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Woman's Suicide Mistaken For April Fools' Joke

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St. Petersburg Police said an elderly woman's body was found in a dumpster Wednesday and the circumstances behind what happened has them scratching their heads.

Investigators said a 96-year-old woman jumped to her death from the 16th floor of the Peterborough Apartments on 4th Avenue North either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Her body lay in the parking lot until about 4:30 a.m. when an overnight desk clerk found her. The employee, however, thought the body was a mannequin and that someone had put it there as an April Fools' joke. Another employee arrived some time later, saw the body, but didn't disagree that it was fake.

Mike Puetz, a police spokesperson, said 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 has been fired, but will not face charges.

Authorities have not yet released the woman's name, however, her neighbors know who she is and said she is loved.

"I was absolutely devastated," said Nancy Sanborn. "She was such a wonderful, upbeat, polite, gentle, intellectual woman."

Sanborn, who is currently the complex's librarian, said the woman helped develop the library and was the first librarian. She said no one could have possibly seen any of this coming.

"She was upbeat. She didn't appear to be depressed," said Sanborn, who said she last saw the 96-year-old earlier this week, adding the employee who found the body is also well-liked. "I don't think you can judge people by mistakes. I wasn't there and I'm sure that he feels the loss and the tragedy as much as the rest of us. He's a nice man."

Managers at the apartment complex, which residents said is occupied entirely by seniors, have not made any comments.

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