SPRING HILL, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — 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.”
The man has been identified as Jeremy Witsoth, according to The Tampa Tribune.
“We can’t believe we didn’t get a call about a body on the back of a pickup truck going down Springhill Drive,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis told The Tribune. “The whole thing is hard to believe.”
Authorities say they found a suicide note written on a wall inside the home. According to The Tribune, Witsoth was living at the home with his girlfriend and several children before they broke up and were evicted from the residence.
“There was a guy and his family living there a couple of months ago, but they got thrown out,” neighbor Fred Simerson told The Tribune. “I saw him come back later for some of his stuff, but it looks like they left a bunch of it.”
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.
“They thought it was a Halloween prop or mannequin left hanging in the garage as a cruel hoax by the former tenants,” Nienhuis told The Tribune.
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.
An investigation continues.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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