Police realised their folly yesterday as the ''body'' of Mani, a retired school teacher, was being removed for ''postmortem'' at least 12 hours after she was found lying inside the toilet.
Mani, who has suffered head injuries afer slipping and falling down, is now under observation in the Intensive care unit of a hospital here, hospital sources said.
The woman had no pulse and also the pupils did not react to light due to which she was "mistaken to be dead", police sources said.
Her body was also ''ice cold'', they said adding a case of ''unnatural death'' registered earlier had been closed as a ''mistake of fact''.
The woman was staying alone in the house in Paravoor in Ernakulam district since the past nine years after some differences with her husband. Her two children were staying with their father.
On noticing newspapers and milk packets lying unpicked for two days in front of her house, the family on Wednesday lodged a complaint with police.
Police, who broke open the house door on Wednesday night, found the woman lying inside the toilet with a stench emanating.
After initial examination, police told her family members and neighbours that the woman had died two days ago, her family members said. The family then began making preparations for the funeral.
Since it was late in the night, police said an inquest would be performed the next day (yesterday) and returned after posting a constable in front of the house.
However, as police were making arrangements for shifting ''the body'' yesterday, they heard a feeble cry from the woman and realised that she was alive.