Washington medical examiner accidentally tells mother her daughter is dead

Lori Baker was told by Pierce County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark that her 24-year old daughter was dead.
By Evan Bleier  |  March 21, 2014 at 11:28 AM
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A Washington mother found out her daughter was killed on March 14 when she was struck by a pickup truck during an accident after a Pierce County chaplain came to her door and delivered the bad news.

"I believed what they told me," Baker told King 5. "That my daughter was dead."

Baker had already started working on her daughter's obituary when she found out that Samantha Rose Kennedy, 24, was actually alive.

As the result of a terrible mix-up, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark got Kennedy confused with the woman who actually lost her life, 25-year-old Aubrey Peterson.

"We work in a gray area,” Clark said. "We did what we normally do. We thought it would be sufficient, but in retrospect, it wasn't."

The distraught mother got the good news when the chaplain returned to her door.

"He said, 'I'm sorry, but there's been a mistake,'" Baker said. "I cussed. I said, 'What do you do? Just go around telling family members they are dead and then say, oops, my mistake?'"

Peterson’s family has been notified about her fate.

“I don’t think anyone did anything wrong. It was a simple misunderstanding,” Clark told The News Tribune. “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.”

[King 5] [The News Tribune]

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