Society

Grieving Mother Asks To See Runaway Daughter’s Body, Finds Out It's Not Her

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Washington woman was preparing to bury her 24-year-old daughter when she learned the body in the casket wasn't hers.

Lori Baker asked to see the body of her daughter, Samantha Kennedy, at a Lakewood funeral home Wednesday. Samantha ran away from home at 16, and Baker hadn’t been able to view the body since learning of her death on Monday.

“It wasn’t her,” Baker told The News Tribune. “It wasn’t my daughter.”

“I thought for three days my daughter was dead,” she said.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office admitted Wednesday they wrongfully identified the body of a woman who was killed in a car accident last week.

Pierce County Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas Clark, blamed the incident on a miscommunication between the hospital that reported the death and his office.

During a conversation, a hospital worker reported “contact with a man who said his friend was missing and that she had a distinctive tattoo.”

Somehow the victim’s tattoo and that of Samantha Kennedy were confused and the Medical Examiner’s Office released Kennedy’s name.

“We really regret that it happened,” Clark told The News Tribune.

The victim is in fact Jade Nicole Aubrey-Peterson, 25, who was hit by a truck on Highway 7 on Friday.

“I don’t think anyone did anything wrong. It was a simple misunderstanding,” Clark said. “The appropriate response is to adjust your policies and practices to ensure something like this does not happen again. We are reviewing the circumstances and will adjust our practices.”

“I still don’t know where my daughter is, but at least I know she’s not the one who was killed,” Baker said. “I’m really relieved.”

Sources: Seattle Times, The News Tribune