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Jury awards $1.5M in California mistaken body ID case

File image of a gavel in front of law books.
Posted at 1:35 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 16:35:15-04

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California jury has awarded $1.5 million to the family of a man who was mistakenly declared dead by authorities.

The panel on Tuesday ruled that the Orange County coroner's office was negligent and intentionally misrepresented the death of Frankie Kerrigan in 2017.

Authorities notified the family that Kerrigan, who had schizophrenia and frequently was homeless, had died outside a store in Fountain Valley and they held a burial.

But weeks later, the family learned Kerrigan was alive and another homeless man was in the grave.

That body has since been exhumed and the remains turned over to his loved ones.

The coroner's office had apologized for the mixup.