Police at the scene of a suspected brush fire in Quebec last week mistook the burnt body of a woman for a dummy and placed it in a police station dumpster.
Officials in the city of Sherbrooke, just north of Vermont, apologized for the embarrassing mistake Thursday and said police and firefighters were somehow duped by a passer-by, according to the CBC.
“Upon their arrival, witnesses said that someone had set a silicone mannequin on fire,” Sherbrooke police chief Danny McConnell reportedly said.
“After discussions between the two services, it was agreed that the mannequin would be placed in the container of the Sherbrooke police department, to which the public does not have access.”
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Hours after authorities ransacked the victim’s body, her husband filed a missing person report, according to the article.
The woman’s cell phone was then located at the scene of the fire, the media said.
“A police officer who intervened earlier spoke of the coincidence with insight,” McConnell said, adding that the cops took the corpse out of the dumpster and identified it as the body of the missing woman, according to the report. report.
“We are obviously sorry for this situation and rest assured that the family is informed of all the key details of this investigation,” McConnell reportedly said. “Our hearts are with the family, her partner and the children in this very tragic situation.”
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Firefighters said they were still trying to figure out how the unforgivable misstep came about, according to the CBC.
“I am quite stunned by this news and I can say that my whole team, all the service, as well as those who were there that day, are in shock,” said fire chief Stéphane Simoneau.
The incident was being investigated by the Crown prosecutor’s office and Quebec police watchdog, the Bureau of Independent Investigations, according to the article.
A pathologist told the news agency that a human body would lose weight in water when burned, explaining how it could be mistaken for a dummy burned in the process.
“So a 150-pound person would weigh around 60 pounds,” Dr Robert Nicholson told point of sale.
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“If someone is a burn victim and most of the water is gone, then there are only the results of the burn. It doesn’t look like a normal person and it doesn’t look like a normal person.”
The victim was not identified in the article and police did not indicate whether she had made an arrest in connection with his gruesome death.
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