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Ohio mistaken identity ends in wrongful cremation

By Lynn Herrmann     Mar 26, 2010 in World
Dayton - One of two Ohio plane crash victims was mistakenly cremated when a county coroner mixed up the victims' wallets at the crash site.
Dr. James Davis, Montgomery County Coroner, acknowledged the mix-up after one family received the wrong personal belongings.
“This has never happened to us before, and I’ve been here since 1975,” said Dr. Davis.
A report in the Dayton Daily News states the error occurred at a small plane crash site in Union County on March 5, where Union County Coroner Dr. David Applegate apparently switched the wallets of two badly injured male victims. Applegate said a visual identification was impossible so the bodies were sent to Montgomery County for positive ID’s by using dental records.
Dr. Lee Lehman, chief deputy director in Montgomery County, performed the autopsies and forensic dentist Dr. Mark Armstrong correctly identified the victims.
However, the coroner’s office failed to recognize the incorrect ID’s provided by Applegate. The error caused the second victim to be placed in a mausoleum in the first victim’s place. “The guy that’s in the mausoleum is the one that was supposed to be cremated,” Davis said.
Ohio authorities are cooperating with the victims’ families to ensure the remains are returned to the proper places.
Davis, county coroner since 1981, said: “We’re still trying to ascertain the level of error and whose error.”
More about Cremation, Plane crash, Mistaken identity, Ohio
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