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The Latest: Coroner apologizes for misidentifying body

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a mix-up by a Southern California’s coroner’s officer that led a family to bury a man wrongly identified as their son (all times local):

7:00 p.m.

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. 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.

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11:33 a.m.

A Southern California man who thought his son had died has learned he buried the wrong man.

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.

Kerrigan says he was told fingerprints were used to ID 57-year-old Frank M. Kerrigan, who is mentally ill and homeless.

But Kerrigan’s lawyer tells the Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/2tZSyZj ) 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.”

A coroner’s spokesman says the case is under investigation.

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