SANTA ANA, Calif. - An official is apologizing to a family who buried an unidentified man that was wrongly identified by the coroner's office as their son.
Sheriff's Lt. Lane Lagaret, a spokesman for the coroner's office, says in a statement Saturday that the department extends regrets to the family of 57-year-old Frank Kerrigan "for any emotional stress caused as a result of this unfortunate incident."
Kerrigan's parents buried a body identified by officials as their son on May 6. They spent $20,000 on the funeral
Eleven days later, a family friend called them to say their son was alive.
Lagaret says the Orange County Sheriff's Department is conducting an internal investigation into the mix-up.
He says that all identification policies and procedures will be reviewed to ensure no misidentifications occur in the future.
Eighty-two-year-old Frank J. Kerrigan of Wildomar says he was told fingerprints were used to ID his son, who is mentally ill and homeless.
But Kerrigan's lawyer tells the Orange County Register it appears authorities weren't able to match fingerprints from the corpse before concluding it was Kerrigan's son.
A $20,000 funeral and burial were held.
Eleven days later, Kerrigan's friend called to say his son was alive. Kerrigan says his son got on the phone and told him: "Hi Dad."