(PCM) A California family is seeking an unspecified sum of money from the Orange Country coroners office after a case of mistaken identity leads them to bury a complete stranger rather than their family member.
Back in early May of 2017, 81-year old Frank Kerrigan received a call from the Orange Country coroners office informing him that his oldest son, 57-year old Frankie had been found dead outside of a store in Fountain Valley. As you can imagine this type of call is every parent’s worst nightmare.
Frankie was suffering from mental illness and was homeless by his own choice at the time that his father received the call. Frankie’s sister Carole Meikel was also devastated by the news, as she was worried about her brother living on the streets. He did keep in contact with the family, but often time infrequently.
After the news of Frankie’s death broke, his family began the process of planning his funeral, spending a few thousand dollars and having relatives travel in from out of town. Frankie was buried next to his mother, or least who the family believed to be Frankie!
Here is where things take a turn for the strange. A few weeks after the funeral, Frank was contacted by a family friends who shared some amazing news! Frankie was alive and well! He even got on the phone and say “Hi Dad. How are you doing?”.
Frank was initially told by the Orange County Coroners department that they had identified Frankie using his fingerprints, however it turns out this was not the case and he was only identified using a old driver’s license photo instead. The coroner’s office claimed to have Frankie’s id, however his wallet was empty.
Frankie’s family is overjoyed to learn that his is still very much alive, however due to their emotional distress and financial damages they are currently filing a much deserved lawsuit against the Orange County Coroner’s office. So, if the body buried is not Frankie, you might be wondering just who was the person buried. The Orange County coroners office claims they have corrected the mistaken identity, but are not releasing the person’s name to the public at this time.
One has to wonder just how a mistake a big as this one can happen in the first place and someone is definitely to blame!