'John Doe' Buried by Wrong Family Identified as US Vet

John Dickens' body is being exhumed and sent to his estranged family
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 9, 2017 5:30 PM CDT
'John Doe' Buried by Wrong Family Identified as US Vet
Frank Kerrigan holds onto a photograph of his three children John, Carole, and Frank. He had thought son Frank was dead for 11 days.   (Andrew Foulk/The Orange County Register via AP)

Southern California authorities have revealed the name of a dead man they misidentified and who was buried by the wrong family. It's a US Army vet whose family hadn't talked to him in 30 years. The Orange County Sheriff's Department said Friday the man found dead with an enlarged heart behind a Verizon store on May 1 was 54-year-old John Dickens, reports the AP.

They had originally misidentified him as Frank Kerrigan, and Kerrigan's family held a funeral and buried him. Then, 11 days later, Kerrigan showed up alive. Dickens' sister, Diane Keaton, tells the Orange County Register the family hadn't spoken to Dickens in decades and feared he might be dead. Now Dickens' remains, which were identified using fingerprints, will be exhumed, cremated, and flown back to family members in Kansas. (More missing person stories.)

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