Man mistakenly buried in California body mix-up is exhumed

The Orange County Coroner's Office exhume the body of a man who was buried after being mistakenly identified in Orange, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. (The Orange County Register via AP)
Updated 24 August 2017

Man mistakenly buried in California body mix-up is exhumed

ORANGE, USA: Authorities on Wednesday exhumed the body of a Southern California man who was mistakenly buried three months ago after a body mix-up.
The coffin of John Dickens, 54, was removed from Holy Sepulcher Cemetery by the Orange County coroner’s office.
At the family’s request, Dickens will be cremated and his ashes sent to his mother, 72-year-old Karen Bilyeu of Cherryvale, Kansas, the Orange County Register reported (http://bit.ly/2g7BWgf).
“It’s about time it was done,” Dickens’ sister, Diane Keaton, 52, of Parsons, Kansas told the newspaper. “It’s been quite a while since we were notified that his body had been identified. We want him home so bad. It’s finally going to happen.”
Dickens, a US Army veteran, was homeless and suffered from mental illness.
His family hadn’t heard from Dickens in decades when he died of an enlarged heart in May. His body was found outside a Verizon store in Fountain Valley.
However, the coroner’s division of the county Sheriff’s Department identified it as that of another homeless man, Frank M. Kerrigan, 57.
Kerrigan’s family members said they were wrongly told that the body had been identified through fingerprints. They buried remains they thought were Kerrigan’s on May 12.
Eleven days later, he showed up at a family friend’s house.
The coroner’s office finally confirmed Dickens’ identity through fingerprints and notified his family in late June.
“I am very grateful that this man can head back to his family,” said Carole Meikle, 56, of Silverado Canyon, who is Kerrigan’s sister. “I have mixed emotions. It has been challenging going through this and having him buried there all this time. It’s heart-wrenching.”
Matthew Eaton, an attorney for the Kerrigan and Dickens families, has filed complaints with the county seeking $3 million in damages. Such claims often precede lawsuits.
The complaints contend that authorities didn’t properly try to confirm the identity of the body because Dickens and Kerrigan were homeless.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the mix-up and has apologized for any grief it caused the families.


Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

Updated 18 November 2019

Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

  • The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters
  • Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate

SRINAGAR: An avalanche on Monday hit an Indian patrol in the world’s highest militarised zone in the Himalayas, killing four soldiers and two porters, an army spokesman said.
The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) that is claimed by India and rival Pakistan.
Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate in the region over the past three decades.
An Indian military spokesman told AFP that the avalanche engulfed eight people in the patrol at the northern end of the glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.
Rescue teams managed to dig the patrol members out of the snow, and they were taken by helicopter to hospital.
“Despite best efforts, six casualties which includes four soldiers and two civilian porters succumbed to extreme hypothermia,” said the spokesman, Col. Rajesh Kalia.
Avalanches are common on the 700-square-kilometer (270-square-mile) glacier, where temperatures regularly fall to minus 60 degrees Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit).
In 2016, 10 Indian soldiers were buried and killed.
About 900 Indian soldiers alone have died on the glacier since 1984, when Indian forces took complete control of Siachen.
The glacier is located at the northern end of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir, which India and Pakistan have fought over since 1947.

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