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

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Frank Kerrigan, left, and his father, also named Frank Kerrigan. The coroner told the elder Kerrigan that his son's fingerprints matched the body, and the office told Meikle they found her brother's identification card — obvious untruths, the family members said in their lawsuit. (Credit: From Frank Kerrigan)

Frank Kerrigan, left, and his father, also named Frank Kerrigan. The coroner told the elder Kerrigan that his son's fingerprints matched the body, and the office told Meikle they found her brother's identification card — obvious untruths, the family members said in their lawsuit. (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.

Read the full story on LATimes.com