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Police in Canada mistook a woman’s burnt body for a mannequin before tossing it into a dumpster.
Officials in the Quebec town of Sherbrooke held a press conference on Thursday in which they apologized for the mistake, nearly a week after the tragic incident, Canadian outlet CBC reports.
Sherbrooke Police Chief Danny McConnell described on Thursday how firefighters received a call on the morning of July 23 about a small brush fire near a factory. While the press conference was held in French, CBC translated his statements.
"When they arrived, witnesses declared that someone had lit a silicone mannequin on fire," McConnell said.
At that point, police were called onto the scene.
“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,” the chief said.
However, the “mannequin” was actually the remains of a woman. Just hours after the fire, a man filed a missing person report for his partner. Investigators were able to track her cell phone to an area suspiciously close to the brush fire scene, CBC reports.
"A police officer who intervened earlier raised the coincidence insightfully," McConnell said.
From there, police took another look at the “mannequin” and realized they had disposed of human remains. They then identified it as the body of the missing woman.
The woman has not been publicly identified. Investigators are now trying to determine the circumstances of her death, Global News reports.
“We are obviously sorry about this situation and rest assured the family is being advised about every key detail of this investigation,” McConnell said on Thursday. “Our hearts are with the family, her partner and the kids in this very tragic situation.”
Flowers have been left at the scene in which the woman’s body was found.
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