Workers throw away body mistaken for mannequin in Hernando dump

Workers throw away body mistaken for mannequin in Hernando dump

Posted: Updated:
West Hernando Transfer Station West Hernando Transfer Station
Detectives on scene at Treehaven Drive in Spring Hill Detectives on scene at Treehaven Drive in Spring Hill
Detectives on scene at Treehaven Drive in Spring Hill Detectives on scene at Treehaven Drive in Spring Hill
SPRING HILL, FL (WFLA) -

A mannequin or a body?  Two men hired to clean out a vacant house in Spring Hill thought they had just found a mannequin.

“That this was in his opinion and he told us the opinion of his coworker, as well as the property owners that this was a Halloween type prop or mannequin that was left hanging in the garage as a cruel hoax by the former tenants for the landlord,” said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis.

But when the men took the “mannequin” to the West Hernando Transfer station where residents can dump household waste, workers were not convinced what they saw, was just a mannequin and they called deputies.

“They advised they had cruelly interacted with the individuals who had dumped the trash that included what we believed to be this body. While we were talking with the individuals at the solid waste transfer station, the county workers, they actually informed us that the person who had dumped the body had returned with more trash or garbage,” said Nienhuis.

Eventually investigators determine the “mannequin” was indeed the body of Jeremy Witfoth.

Similar story: St. Pete clerk who mistook suicide for April Fool's prank fired

Turns out, Witfoth lived in the home where the men were cleaning.  Investigators believe Witfoth took his own life and even left a suicide note.

It will be up to the medical examiner to determine just how long Witfoth has been dead.

“It was at least a couple of days, to a month and a half,” said Sheriff Nienhuis.

Fred Simerson lives across the street from where Witfoth’s body was found. He saw the men cleaning out the home Thursday morning.

Similar story: Hotel clerk thinks dead body is mannequin, puts it in dumpster

“There were two guys. They had the pickup truck backed up to the garage. There were two guys and they were sitting on it. I saw the garage door open so I figured they have their hands full because when I looked inside the garage, it was full man,” said Simerson.

Investigators tell News Channel 8 the men thought the smell was from trash and dead rodents that were also in the home.

“First time I've ever seen something like this,” said Simerson.

Sheriff Nienhuis tells me he doesn’t plan on charging the men who found the body at this time.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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