Man Mistakes Suicide Victim for April Fool's Prank

Published 04/04 2014 10:09AM

Updated 04/04 2014 10:15AM

(WFLA) For the last couple days Ronald Benjamin has sat alone, mainly, in his rocking chair thinking about how a mistake has changed his life so drastically.

"Pure hell," he said in an interview with NBC affiliate WFLA Thursday. "Pure hell."

Next month, Benjamin would've celebrated his ninth year working at the Peterborough Apartment tower. But Wednesday, a smoke break at 4:30 in the morning changed everything.

A 96-year-old woman had put a step-stool up the window of her 16th floor apartment window and stepped off. In the darkness before dawn, Benjamin thought the body in the parking lot was a mannequin. April Fool's Day had just ended about four hours earlier, and he wrote it off as a joke.

Eventually, when a newspaper delivery driver and her son were making their rounds, Benjamin asked for help getting, what he thought, was a mannequin into the dumpster.

"I've just been a mess since," he said as he sighed. "I've called VA crisis line. I'm going to go over there and talk to somebody."

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