A CANADIAN woman's charred remains were thrown away by firefighters who mistook what was left of her body as a mannequin.
The Quebec coroner's office is now investigating the grizzly discovery, following a miscommunication between local police who were told of a missing person, and firefighters, who were called to put out a fire at a clothing factory.
"We are obviously sorry for this situation," said Sherbrooke police service chief Danny McConnell told the Montreal Gazette.
"Rest assured that the family was notified at every key point in the investigation."
The incident occurred just after 10AM on Friday when firefighters received a call of a brush fire behind a factory street on Quebec's Cabana Way area.
When they arrived, firefighters were told by witnesses they saw someone setting fire to a silicone mannequin, according to TVA Nouvelles.
Moments later, police arrived at the scene and spoke with firefighters to put the supposed mannequin in a police department container away from public view.
Four hours later, police received a call from a man saying his wife had disappeared, and that's when authorities noticed a resemblance between the mannequin and the missing woman.
Authorities were able to ping her phone and tracked the missing woman's car near where the fire had occurred, McConnell said.
It wasn't until 6:30PM, about four hours after they received the missing person report, police picked up the presumed mannequin and realized it was instead a deceased woman.
They immediately notified the coroner's office, which is now working with the Sherbrooke's police department to investigate the incident.
Stéphane Simoneau, head of the fire department, vowed to "shed light" on the sequence of events, which he called "unusual to say the least, perhaps shocking."
"I’m quite stunned by the news, and this applies to my entire service," he said. "First responders are in a state of shock."
He did say the authorities were "taking the situation very seriously."
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