Police and fire department crew in Quebec, Canada last week mistook the burnt corpse of a woman missing in bushfire for a mannequin and threw it in a dumpster. Officials in the town of Sherbrooke, just north of Vermont, later apologized for the embarrassing mistake on Thursday saying that they were duped by a bystander.
Danny McConnell, chief of police in Sherbrooke explained reporters that firefighters had responded to a report of a brushfire behind a baking factory on Cabana Street, at around 10am last Friday. However, when they reached, a bystander told them that he believed someone had burnt a silicone mannequin behind the factory.
The confusion started after police believed the version of the bystander, who duped them, according to the CBC. "When they arrived, witnesses declared that someone had lit a silicone mannequin on fire," McConnell reportedly said.
Police joined fire crew after agreeing that it was a mannequin and decided to not leave it there but dispatch it to the police station. "After discussions between the two departments, it was agreed that the mannequin would be disposed of in the container at the Sherbrooke police service, which cannot be accessed by members of the public."
However, never for a moment did they realize that it was actually the charred body of woman. The said container was actually a dumpster. At around 10.45 am firefighters arrived at police headquarters with what they still believed was a mannequin, and placed it in the dumpster and got back to their work without even having the slightest idea that they were working with a corpse placed just outside the room.
Realizing Their Mistake
Everything seemed to be normal initially, till a man came around 2.15 pm to register a complaint that his wife was missing. Soon they started investigating and then they tracked the woman's cell phone signal following which they were led to her car parked nearby the site of the fire that morning.
"A police officer who intervened earlier raised the coincidence insightfully," McConnell said, adding cops then grew suspicious and pulled the corpse out of the dumpster only to realize that it was not a mannequin but a corpse.
Investigations further revealed that it was the body of the missing woman, whose husband had come to the police station, according to reports. Fire officials said they were still trying to figure out how the unforgivable faux pas happened, according to the CBC.
"We are obviously sorry about this situation and rest assured the family is being advised about every key detail of this investigation," McConnell reportedly said. "Our hearts are with the family, her partner and the kids in this very tragic situation."
McConnell did not reveal the identity of the missing woman, and said a city coroner was conducting an investigation.