This is so beyond horrible…
Canadian law enforcement has publicly apologized for accidentally throwing a woman’s burned remains in a dumpster after mistaking her for a mannequin.
The incident happened on July 23, when a team of firefighters in Sherbrooke, Quebec, responded to a call that a mannequin caught on fire at a nearby factory. Sherbrooke Police Chief Danny McConnell told CBC Canada that the team believed they just found a silicon figure in a wooded area at the time:
“When they arrived, witnesses declared that someone had lit a silicone mannequin on fire.”
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McConnell then revealed that the police and fire departments decided that the mannequin should be disposed in a “container” at the Sherbrooke Police Department. The “container” meant the dumpster behind the police station. However, they received a phone call four hours later from a man who reported that his wife went missing.
Authorities immediately tracked the woman’s cellphone to her vacant car, which was parked near the site of the fire. McConnell then said that’s when one police officer noted how the fire may have been linked to the woman’s disappearance. And when police grabbed the supposed mannequin out of the trash bin, they soon realized their awful mistake. The remains were positively identified as those of the missing woman. McConnell expressed to her loved ones in the Thursday press conference:
“We are obviously sorry about this situation and rest assured the family is being advised about every key detail of this investigation. Our hearts are with the family, her partner, and the kids in this very tragic situation.”
According to People, Sherbrooke Fire Chief Stéphane Simoneau also offered condolences to the woman’s family, revealing that first responders have been deeply impacted by the day’s events:
“I’m quite stunned by this news and I can say that my entire team, the entire department, as well as those who were there that day, are in shock. People were overcome by certain emotions, so we have to manage that situation in order to stabilize our teams, psychologically, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Anatomical pathologist Dr. Robert Nicholson explained to CBC that the authorities’ error wasn’t entirely “unreasonable” since severely burned people tend to lose all the water inside their bodies, which makes them appear different. He stated:
“So, a 150-pound person would be about 60 pounds. If somebody is a burn victim and most of the water is gone, then there is nothing but the results of the burn. It doesn’t look like a normal person and it doesn’t feel like a normal person.”
Police have not released the woman’s identity, but McConnell called her death was “suspicious” during the conference. An investigation into her death is still ongoing at this time.
We cannot imagine what this family must be going through after learning their loved one had been treated in that way. Our hearts go out to them during this difficult time.
[Image via CBC News: The National/YouTube]