Orange County to Pay Family $1.5 Million After Coroner Buries Wrong Homeless Man

The Orange County Coroner’s Office has been ordered to pay $1.5million to the family of a homeless man they were told was dead – although he is in fact still alive and that another homeless man was buried in the grace of their loved one.

the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday:

Frankie Kerrigan, 57, suffered from profound schizophrenia and had been on and off the streets for a decade. He resisted taking his medication and tended to run away if his family pushed him. It appeared that he died violently on May 6, 2017.

A body was delivered to the Kerrigans. There was a wake, a Catholic mass and a burial in a family plot. On May 23 – 17 days after the death notice – a family friend called Francis Kerrigan to say the son he was mourning had just appeared at his home. He had his ubiquitous black briefcase.

The body in the ground was another homeless man, John Dean Dickens, 54, who died of heart disease. On Tuesday, an Orange County Superior Court jury found the coroner’s office committed negligence and willful misrepresentation and awarded the Kerrigan family $1.5 million in damages.

The confusion arose because the police officer who identified the body expected the coroner’s office to check his fingerprints against records, but it turned out he was on vacation when results disputing his identification were found.

The two men were similar enough in appearance that Frank Kerrigan, the father of the supposedly deceased man, did not see a marked difference at the open casket funeral.

He told NBC Los Angeles in March: “Losing your eldest son, I’m choking right now talking about it, losing your only son, it was very traumatic for me. Very traumatic for my family.

Joel B. Pollak is editor of Breitbart News and host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday nights from 7-10 p.m. ET (4-7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book Neither Free Nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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