Mother thinks daughter died after mix-up at morgue - WKRN News 2

Mother thinks daughter died after mix-up at morgue

Posted: Updated: March 20, 2014 08:36 PM
Samantha Kennedy  (Courtesy: ABC News) Samantha Kennedy (Courtesy: ABC News)
Lori Baker was mistakenly told her daughter had died in an accident. (Courtesy: ABC News) Lori Baker was mistakenly told her daughter had died in an accident. (Courtesy: ABC News)
WASHINGTON -

A Washington mother mistakenly thought her estranged daughter died after a morgue mixed-up the identity of an accident victim.

Lori Baker, 44, was informed Monday that her daughter, Samantha Kennedy, who she had not seen in five months, had been killed on March 14.
 
The Pierce County Medical Examiner's office told Baker the 24-year-old was hit by a pickup truck while crossing a street in Spanaway, Washington. She was taken to the hospital and declared dead, but had no identification.

Baker said two days later, when she and her sister were getting ready to visit the funeral home to see the body for the first time, a chaplain from the medical examiner's office came to her house.

"He said, 'I really hate to do this, but there has been a mix-up and your daughter is alive.' I started yelling at him, 'You go around randomly telling people your kid is dead and you don't ID the body?'"

The Pierce County Medical Examiner's office has since taken responsibility for the mistake.

Medical Examiner Thomas Clark said, "Due to a misunderstanding involving several members of our staff involving a tattoo, the medical examiner identified the victim as Samantha Kennedy."

Clark also said his office was supporting both families while they review the circumstances and adjust their practices.

The accident victim has now been identified as 25-year-old Jade Nicole Aubrey-Peterson, and her next of kin has been notified.

Baker told ABC News that after a harrowing two days, she feels wonderful about the news.

The mother and daughter last saw each other in October when they celebrated Baker's birthday. They had been estranged since her daughter was 16.

*ABC News contributed to this report.

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