It is bad enough having to make Funeral arrangements and bury a relative. It was devasting for a California man to have a funeral for a man he thought was his son, only to find out later that he had made funeral arrangements and buried the wrong person. After spending a great deal of money on a beautiful funeral, Frank J. Kerrigan discovered that the coroner made a mistake, and that his son was still alive. The 82-year-old father did not bury his son after all -- he arranged for the wrong man to be buried.

Orange County coroner's officials reported that a man had been found dead behind a store.

The coroner called Kerrigan and told him that the body was that of his 57-year-old mentally ill son who had been living on the street, and the body had been identified by his fingerprints.

Expensive funeral

The Kerrigan family held a $20,000 funeral for a man they thought was Kerrigan's son. A large number of people traveled a long way to attend the service. When John Kerrigan gave the eulogy, he thought he was giving it in honor of his dead brother. The body was later buried in the family cemetery beside the matriarch of the family.

It wasn't that people didn't see the body. In fact, the grieving father reached into the coffin and touched the man's hair. He later confessed that he didn't know what his son looked like after he had been living on the street for so long.

After the funeral

Several days after the funeral, the father was trying to deal with his grief and thinking about the beautiful service and the burial, when he received a telephone call from his son. It was then that he discovered that he held a funeral for (and buried) someone else and not his own son.

The father hired an attorney to advise him in terms of what to do about the situation.

Attorney Doug Easton said that the coroner wasn't able to match the fingerprints through model technology, and the mistake was probably made because the man was homeless.

The unfortunate mistake caused the family unnecessary grief, a lot of money, and inconvenience. The family is glad their relative is still alive, and that the man who was buried has been identified.

The family concluded that he sure did have a beautiful funeral and burial.

One would think that the son would want to come back home after seeing how his family went all-out for him. However, he decided to continue to live on the street.

An investigation is underway to get to the bottom of the coroner's mistake and to determine what actions to take to correct it. Death brings with it many raw feelings, but the Kerrigan family certainly experienced some added stress.