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Labor & Employment

Worker mistakes woman’s body for April 1 prank, is fired but not criminally charged

Posted Apr 3, 2014 10:40 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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When a desk clerk at a Florida senior housing complex took a smoke break and spotted a shape on the ground in the wee hours on Wednesday, he assumed the body was an April Fool's Day joke.

In fact, the body was real, but that wasn't discovered until hours later. An unidentified 96-year-old woman left a suicide note before apparently jumping to her death from the 16th floor of the St. Petersburg building. Meanwhile, the desk clerk, Ronald Benjamin, had moved the body to a Dumpster with the help of a passer-by, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Interviewed by a reporter, the 61-year-old Benjamin said he hadn't been able to sleep after the incident. "If I thought for one instant it was a real person I would have called the police, my manager, everyone I could think of," he told the newspaper.

The police believed Benjamin and will not be pressing any charges, according to a spokesman.

He was, however, fired from his job of nine years, the Times reports.

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