Authorities on Tuesday asked for the public’s help to find a missing man who was misidentified as a deceased person by the L.A. County coroner’s office earlier this month.
Adam Michael Buckley, 27, was last seen exactly one week ago when he left the Twin Towers Correctional Facility near downtown L.A., according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Earlier in August, the coroner’s office alerted Buckley’s mother that they had identified the badly burned remains of a man as her son.
The body was found in Lancaster on July 2, and investigators couldn’t determine at the time whether the remains were male or female due to extreme thermal damage, according to a statement from the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Days later, coroner’s staff determined the subject was a male, but could not get bone DNA or fingerprints because of the body’s condition, the statement read.
On July 26, the coroner’s office was contacted by the Sheriff’s Department, which indicated the John Doe could be Buckley, who was then listed as missing. A radiologist was called in less than three weeks later to compare X-rays of Buckley with those taken of the decedent.
Through the X-rays and “information known at the time,” investigators identified the remains as Buckley, according to the statement. His family was then notified.
But on Aug. 28, the coroner’s office learned Buckley was still alive through another agency. Once they confirmed a misidentification had been made, the coroner’s office contacted his family, acknowledged the error and apologized, according to the statement.
The office publicly apologized for the incident three days later, after Buckley’s release from the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
His mother is now frantically searching for her missing son, telling KTLA she wasn’t informed her son was actually alive when he was released on Aug. 28.
“I’m still desperate to find my son because they identified him as a deceased, murdered victim in Lancaster, only to be told 16 days later that the coroner had made a mistake,” Angela Winters told KTLA on Sunday.
That day, she was out at Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance after receiving several phone calls from people telling her they had seen her son in the area within the past 24 hours.
The mall is located at 3525 West Carson Street. Winters said he was seen within a four-mile radius of that area.
The Sheriff’s Department indicated Buckley might be in the L.A. or Santa Clarita areas.
Winters expressed concern for his wellbeing, saying he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and should be taking medication.
“He has not, to my knowledge, had his medication or an opportunity to have health care for the last several months,” she said. “I’m desperate because he’s done things in the past that prove that he does not have the ability to keep himself safe.”
Standing outside the mall Sunday, a photo of her son clutched in her hands, Winters had a simple message for him.
“Adam … I will be here all night. I will be here as long as it takes to find you. Please call me,” she said.
Buckley is described by the Sheriff’s Department as white, about 5-feet-10 inches tall, weighing 165 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
He was wearing a brown and white plaid shirt, and gray pants when he was last seen.
Anyone with information about Buckley’s whereabouts or who has seen him is asked to contact Detective Abraham or Sgt. Nava of the department’s Missing Persons Unit by calling 323-890-5500.
Those would prefer to a leave a tip anonymously can dial Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.