Then came the May 23 phone call.
On the line was Bill Shinker, a long-time family friend.
A California man who days ago attended his homeless son’s funeral was shocked to receive a phone call from his “dead” son whom coroners mistakenly pronounced as deceased, it was reported on Saturday.
A family friend named Bill Shinker, who was a pallbearer at the funeral, called up Kerrigan on May 23 and revealed that Frank Kerrigan the younger was alive.
It was not immediately clear whether the county has identified the man who was wrongly buried as Kerrigan.
Frank M. Kerrigan with his father Frank Kerrigan.
Eighty-two-year-old Frank J. Kerrigan of Wildomar says the Orange County coroner’s office mistakenly identified a body found dead on May 6 as that of his son.
Frank Kerrigan’s sister Carol Meikle believes her brother was treated differently because he’s homeless.
A memorial that was set up at the site of where Frank M. Kerrigan supposedly passed away.
The gravesite in Orange, where Frank M. Kerrigan was supposedly buried. “It’s horrific”, Meikle told the Orange County Register.
It was unclear how coroner’s officials misidentified the body.
Frank Kerrigan holds up a photograph of his three children John, Carole and Frank.
Kerrigan said that he didn’t think belongings, given to him by the Coroner’s Office, were his son’s. “He said “Hi Dad”.
Sheriff officials in Orange County, California, have admitted that they wrongly identified the body of a man found dead outside a cell phone store, weeks after a funeral and burial were held for the wrong man.
The mix-up has bewildered the elder Kerrigan, who blames the Orange County Coroner’s Office for the confusion.
“As part of the internal investigation, this incident and all identification policies and procedure will be reviewed to ensure no further misidentifications occur”, the office has said in a statement.
Kerrigan told the news outlet that when he offered to identify the body, the coroner’s office assured him that the man had already been identified as his son, through fingerprints.
It was only after the ordeal that Kerrigan learned the coroner was mistaken.
“When somebody tells me my son is dead, when they have fingerprints, I believe them”, he said.
‘If he wasn’t identified by fingerprints I would been there in heartbeat’.
When she got there, she noticed a spot near the bushes where the body was reportedly found.
“It was a very hard situation for me to stand at a pretty disturbing scene”, she said. “There was blood and dirty blankets”, Meikle said.
At the funeral, Kerrigan opened the casket to take one last look at his son.
‘I took a little look and touched his hair, ‘ Kerrigan recalled.
“I didn’t know what my dead son was going to look like”, he said.
Still, all along there were red flags that the dead man wasn’t Frank.
“It was a lovely ceremony”, Kerrigan said.
The family is filing a lawsuit against the Orange County Coroner’s Office, whose mistakes caused the misidentification – and ensuing grief.
When the family told authorities he was alive, they tried the fingerprints again and on June 1 learned they matched someone else’s, Meikle said.
Mr Easton said the coroner’s office provided the Kerrigan family with a name of that person, but the identification has not been independently confirmed.
“We thought we were burying our brother”. “Someone else had a lovely sendoff”.