Due to an incident where police once mistook a human body for a silicone mannequin and threw it in a dumpster, first responders in Quebec are now being trained on how to tell the difference and avoid such an incident in the future.
According to a story by Canadian Press, in July 2020, Quebec woman Laurette Therrien died in a fire nearby Sherbrooke, Quebec. When first responders arrived on the scene, they mistook her burnt body for that of a mannequin. It was not until several hours later after the body was put into a dumpster by police that they recognized their wrongdoing.
CTV News called the incident “bizarre” when it initially occurred, with many wondering how a real body could be mistaken for a plastic one. It was only after the victim’s partner contacted police to report her missing and they tracked her cell phone that the police made the connection. The retrieved the body from the dumpster hours later.
“We are obviously sorry for this incident and we assure you the family will be advised throughout this investigation,” Sherbrooke police chief Danny McConnell said at the time.
It is alleged that the fire’s drastic impact on Therrien’s body and skin is the cause for the mistake.
Now, Coroner Richard Drapeau says that police and firefighters have undergone recent training to be able to accurately identify human bodies in fires. They have also reportedly been given new rules for documenting deaths and must work more closely with paramedics in similar instances.
Therrien’s cause of death was ruled as a suicide.