‘Dead’ man turns up alive four days after his funeral – to the shock of wife who misidentified a body in morgue and buried unknown coronavirus victim in Honduras
- Victoria Sarmiento had spent several days looking for husband Julio, 65
- She went to the local hospital where staff said he had recently died of Covid-19
- A funeral was held for her husband with an all-night wake, and he was ‘buried’
- But four days later, Julio arrived back home after he was found injured in a field
- It transpired that an unidentified victim of coronavirus had been buried instead
A ‘dead’ man has turned up alive four days after his funeral, much to the shock of his wife who misidentified a body in the morgue and buried an unknown coronavirus victim in Honduras.
Victoria Sarmiento had spent several days looking for husband Julio after the 65-year-old had failed to return home.
Last Wednesday (Dec 30) the worried housewife, from El Carmen, Honduras, took his identity documents to the local hospital, where staff told her he had recently died from coronavirus.
Julio Sarmiento (pictured) surprised his wife after he turned up four days after a funeral was held for him in Honduras. She had misidentified a body in the morgue and buried an unknown coronavirus victim in Honduras
She reportedly then recognised the body of the man in the morgue of the Hospital de Occidente, before it was released for burial.
Mrs Sarmiento hired a funeral directors to transfer the man’s body 30 miles from the hospital to her rural village in the country’s western municipality of San Nicolas, Copan, where distraught relatives held an all-night wake before his funeral.
The woman said she paid 10,500 lempiras (£320) for funeral expenses.
Mrs Sarmiento was still in mourning when, four days later, husband Julio arrived back home after he was found injured in a field in the neighbouring municipality of Trinidad.
He had gone for a walk but fell over and couldn’t get up again, remaining there for several days without food or drink.
Mrs Sarmiento told Hondura’s LaPrensa newspaper: ‘That wasn’t my husband who died, because I have my husband here now. I recognised him.
The Hospital de Occident confirmed that the unidentified man she buried had arrived at he hospital in a serious condition with Covid-19 on December 27. Pictured: The man’s grave
‘I would like them to give me back some of what I spent, because they gave me the body of someone I don’t know. The authorities at the morgue should have properly examined him to see if it was really him.’
The Hospital de Occident confirmed that the unidentified man she buried had arrived at he hospital in a serious condition with Covid-19 on December 27. He died a few hours later.
The hospital’s director, Juan Carlos Cardona, insisted it was the woman who wrongly identified the man was her husband.
Julio (pictured in a car with a paramedic) had gone for a walk but fell over and couldn’t get up again, remaining there for several days without food or drink
He said: ‘The instruction of the Municipal Emergency Committee is to leave a patient who dies from Covid in cold rooms for six days in case a family member appears.
‘Then the wife appears, bringing his identity card, recognises him and says he’s her husband.’
He added that, after staff noted the physical resemblance of the dead man with the photo Mrs Sarmiento carried, she then recognised the body herself in the hospital morgue.
He said: ‘With the correct security protocols the plastic bag was opened and she said that it was him. That’s why the body was released to her.’
Pictured: A death certificate for Julio after it was believed he had died of Covid-19
According to the hospital, one of Julio’s children had called them expressing doubts about the dead man after opening the coffin on the day of the funeral, but later went ahead with the ceremony despite their doubts.
Mr Cardona said: ‘The logical thing was to bring the body back so we could investigate. But later the relatives called back and said he was the right person after all and they were going to bury him.
‘We have everything documented. We even have an apology from one of the children, if this becomes a lawsuit.’