Officials Identify Man Buried by Wrong Family Due to Orange County Coroner’s Office Mix-Up

Frank Kerrigan, left, and his father, also named Frank Kerrigan (Credit: From Frank Kerrigan)

Authorities on Friday released the name of a man found dead in May and buried by the wrong family because of a botched identification by Orange County coroner’s officials.

Sheriff’s Lt. Lane Lagaret said a cause of death for the man now identified as John Dean Dickens, 54, was awaiting toxicology reports. Dickens’ body was found behind a Fountain Valley Verizon store May 6 but wrongly identified by officials as Frank M. Kerrigan, 57, a mentally ill homeless man who had been living in the streets.

Kerrigan’s family held a $20,000 funeral that drew 50 people. A friend later called Kerrigan’s father and said that his son was alive — and standing on his patio.

Lagaret said a Sheriff’s Department internal investigation was underway examining “how this could have happened. We’re looking at protocols and other things so that it doesn’t happen again.

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