Cleaning Crew Mistakes Dead Body For Mannequin

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Cleaning Crew Mistakes Dead Body For Mannequin

Posted: Updated:

HERNANDO COUNTY, FL- Two men cleaning out a vacant house mistook a dead body for a mannequin before they threw it out, investigators say.

Around noon Thursday, employees at the West Hernando Transfer Station called the Hernando County Sheriff's Office to report human remains in one of the bins at the site.

When deputies arrived, so did Israel Lopez, 50, and Adam Hines, 30, both of Zephyrhills. Investigators questioned them about the body and both men had said they thought it was a Halloween mummy.

Separate from the scene at the transfer station, deputies responded to a vacant house on Treehaven Drive about a mile away.

"It was probably something you'd see on an episode of 'Hoarders'," Sheriff Al Nienhuis said of the house.

Both Lopez and Hines told investigators they had been contracted by the homeowners to clean out the house that had been vacant for months.

The cleaning crew cut down what they thought to be a mannequin hanging from the ceiling in the garage, and they thought the smell inside was tied to numerous dead rats.

Investigators say the men took several trips to the dump, and the cleaning crew said on the trip with the body, they had it placed on top of several piles of garbage in the bed of the truck.

Even the homeowners thought it was a mannequin.

All four of them convinced themselves it was some Halloween type prop. Obviously they felt it was very realistic," the sheriff said.

It was realistic because it was real. Investigators say Jeremy Witfoth, 33, may have been squatting in the house and hanged himself sometime within the last several weeks.

"It was obviously very unusual and hard to believe," Sheriff Nienhuis said.

The men described the body as a mummy.

At first, investigators were very suspicious of their story, but after finding a suicide note written on a wall inside the house, they believe it may check out.

"Barring anything unforeseen from the medical examiner, we're relatively sure that the story is exactly what they told us, because everyone we've talked to has said the exact same thing, and that's unusual to say the least," the sheriff said.

The investigation is far from over. Detectives plan to collect surveillance video from several businesses between the house and the landfill to further confirm the cleaning crew's story.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

  • Spotlight StoriesMore>>

  • Bride saves groom from falling off cliff

    Bride saves groom from falling off cliff

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:16 AM EDT2014-09-16 07:16:08 GMT
    A woman saved her husband's life after he lost his balance during their vow renewal ceremony.
    A woman saved her husband's life after he lost his balance during their vow renewal ceremony.
  • School Asks Teen To Change Out of 'Virginity Rocks' T-Shirt

    School Asks Teen To Change Out of 'Virginity Rocks' T-Shirt

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:03 AM EDT2014-09-16 07:03:08 GMT
    An Arkansas junior high school made a teenage girl change out of a T-shirt that reads “Virginity Rocks” because, according to the school, the shirt could raise awkward questions about sex and any potentially disruptive clothing is banned.
    An Arkansas junior high school made a teenage girl change out of a T-shirt that reads “Virginity Rocks” because, according to the school, the shirt could raise awkward questions about sex and any potentially disruptive clothing is banned.
  • Kent State University blasts red-stained sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters

    Kent State University blasts red-stained sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:28 AM EDT2014-09-16 05:28:05 GMT
    A sweatshirt being sold by Urban Outfitters featuring fake blood stains and tattered edges with the logo of Kent State University, where four students were killed in a 1970 incident that shocked America, is “beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life,” university officials said.
    A sweatshirt being sold by Urban Outfitters featuring fake blood stains and tattered edges with the logo of Kent State University, where four students were killed in a 1970 incident that shocked America, is “beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life,” university officials said.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices