June 02, 2006

Mr. And Mrs. Cerak, The Grant County Coroner's Office Regrets To Inform You That, Uh, Never Mind

Super. Fort Wayne (kind of) makes the front page of The Multicolor, with this follow-up to this story:

INDIANAPOLIS The VanRyn family learned Wednesday that the patient they cared for and prayed for the past five weeks is not their Laura.

Laura, it turns out, is dead.

The young woman in the hospital bed, who suffered head injuries in an April 26 highway accident that killed five people, is Whitney Cerak.

Whitney's family thought they buried her weeks ago.

"We have some hard news to share with you today," the VanRyn family said in a blog at lauravanryn.blogspot.com, where it had been posting updates.

"Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura, but instead a fellow Taylor (University) student of hers, Whitney Cerak."
I'm doomed to hell just for what I'm thinking about this case (far far worse than, for example, what I contemplated saying about this accident), so I'll show a modicum of class - just this once, I promise - and limit my comments thusly.

When no family member will identify a body...

Whitney's family never looked at the body recovered from the accident. One sister came to the hospital with the intention of doing so, but ultimately decided against it.
...why the holy Hell didn't the coroner request dental records, do a DNA test, ANYTHING to remove any doubt?

Remember, all it takes to become a county coroner in Indiana is to win an election (and have lived in your county for a year or more). You don't even need to be a doctor. In this case, the coroner wasn't even elected (from the first link):

Mowery, a politician who has been a county sheriff and mayor of the city of Marion, is completing the term of an elected coroner who moved to a different office. Mowery had signed up for a training course offered by the state Coroners Training Board but had not taken it.
You'd certainly think that if you were picking someone to fill out the term of an elected coroner, you'd at least want to get somebody qualified for the job.

But that would be brandishing dangerous logic, wouldn't it?

Posted by Chris at June 2, 2006 03:29 PM

Category: Official Stupidity

Where I come from, you have to have poked a dead body with a stick at least twice to become coroner. I had no idea those were *strict* requirements.

Posted by: chess h at June 4, 2006 12:02 PM

Yes, such a resume would leave you over-qualified to be a county coroner in Indiana.

Posted by: Chris of Dangerous Logic at June 4, 2006 08:19 PM