SPRING HILL, Florida -- Two men hired to clean out a vacant Tampa Bay area house thought they found a mannequin hanging in the garage. They cut it down and hauled it to the local dump, where landfill workers realized it was actually a human body.
Hernando County Sheriff's officials on Thursday said the 33-year-old Spring Hill man apparently committed suicide several weeks ago and his body was in a "state of decomposition similar to mummification."
Israel Lopez and Adam Hines told authorities they thought the former renters had left a "Halloween-like" hoax. Lopez hauled the debris to the landfill while Hines continued cleaning.
Landfill workers spotted the remains and called deputies. Lopez was questioned when he brought a second load to the dump. Hines and the property owner were also questioned.
This is the second time in recent months that a dead body was mistaken for a mannequin. In St. Petersburg, the body of a 96-year-old woman who jumped to her death was mistaken for an April Fools' prank and thrown in an apartment complex dumpster. The overnight clerk who removed the body was fired.