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Father Buries Wrong Man After Coroner Misidentifies Body of His Son: Reports

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A California father recently had the tumultuous experience of burying his son before finding out he wasn't dead.

Frank J. Kerrigan and his family held a funeral for his 57-year-old son, Frank M. Kerrigan, on May 12 after authorities identified him as the man found dead behind a Verizon store in Fountain Valley.

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Kerrigan said goodbye to his son, whose open casket funeral cost the family $20,000.

The younger Kerrigan was eulogized by his own uncle.

The body was then interred near Kerrigan's late wife.

The grieving process began as so many do, but ended more abruptly than most when, on May 23, the elder Kerrigan got a phone call he'd never forget from his friend Bill Shinker, who indicated the younger Kerrigan was alive.

Kerrigan told The Orange County Register that he instructed Shinker, "Bill, put my son on the phone."

"He said, 'Hi Dad.'"

Eleven days had passed since the funeral but on the phone was the deceased, alive and well.

It was unclear how officials misidentified the body. The Associated Press reports that Kerrigan has hired an attorney who said the family is placing blame on the Orange County Coroner's Office.

The attorney, Doug Easton, said coroner's officials weren't able to match the corpse's fingerprints through a law enforcement database and instead identified Kerrigan, who family says is homeless and mentally ill, by using an old driver's license photo.

When the family informed authorities of the mistake, Frank M. Kerrigan's sister, Carole Meikle, told the coroner's office about the mix-up. After running the fingerprints again, the office reportedly matched them with someone else.

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Easton said the family plans to sue, alleging authorities didn't properly try to identify the body because Kerrigan's son is homeless.

A message left with the Orange County Coroner's Office was not immediately returned Sunday.

Watch: Woman Kept Money From GoFundMe Account Meant for Funeral of Friend's Child: Cops

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