Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mistaken Identity

What a tragic story... almost unbelievable, in fact...

A van from Taylor University (a Christian college in Upland, IN) carrying professional staff and students was involved in a collision with a tractor trailer that drifted across the highway median. Four Taylor students and one employee were killed in the accident. Only one student and three employees survived the accident, as well as the driver of the tractor trailer. Here is the link to the Indiana State Police News Release.

I saw this on the news this morning, and then my sister-in-law emailed me a link to an article and the blog address where the family of Laura VanRyn (19 years old) has been posting updates on the person that they thought was their daughter. She has been in critical care since the date of the accident (April 26, 2006), and recently, they discovered that in fact, this was not their daughter, but that their daughter had perished in the accident and her identity was mistakenly confused with the girl they had been caring for all this time, Whitney Cerak (22 years old). The Cerak family had been told their daughter was killed in the accident, and they buried what they thought was her body in a closed casket ceremony on April 29, 2006.

I can not imagine the roller coaster ride of emotions these two families have been on. First you find out your daughter was killed. Then you find out she's actually alive... Or in the VanRyn's case, you are told your daughter survived the accident but was critically injured. And then, you're informed that she isn't really your daughter. For the life of me, I can't even pretend to understand the grief/joy these families are feeling right now.

The VanRyn's have published a beautiful blog, and have truly leaned on Christ for their strength, even when they were told that their daughter had actually died. I hope you have an opportunity to read through it.

My prayers go out to both the VanRyn and Cerak families.

11 comments:

Susanne said...

Believe it or not, but this happened last summer in my area, too. They did not get so far as to bury the girl but were making the funeral arrangements when it was discovered a mistake had been made. The young lady who passed away was wearing a bracelet that was actually belonging to the girl who survived. It was very sad. Hard to think that this could happen.

Overwhelmed! said...

Wow, how heart breaking! I'll have to check out the VanRyn's blog. Thanks for linking it.

Carol said...

Oh, how horrible. I just can not imagine their heartache.

There is so much pain in this world...

momrn2 said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! I can't even begin to imagine...

aggiejenn said...

I saw this on the news this morning and could not believe it. How tragic, indeed. Thanks for linking to their blog.

kpjara said...

I cannot imagine RELIVING the grief...well I can't imagine going through anything remotely like this!

Thanks for the story and links...amazing family based on the blog entries! WOW!

Stacey said...

Just like you, I can't even imagine what they must be feeling at this time. I can't imagine how the hospital staff are feeling right now either, especially the one who gave the wrong info to the families!

I'm going over to check out the family's blog now. Thanks Gibee!!

Faith said...

OHHHH, how awful! I'm so sad for them. I will check out the blog though!

I don't think i am liking my new comment thing either. I hsve no idea what math you are having to do. I am way confused!

Heather Smith said...

I feel for both these families! I can't imagine the emotional gamut they've been through! I tried to comment earlier today, and I thought I had, but my computer is doing weird things! Hope you've had a good one!

sarahgrace said...

Wow! That is crazy, aside from being a VERY bittersweet thing! I will certainly remember to pray for both families. I suspect this will not be the end of their story...

RANDI said...

Stories like this are just too much to believe! My heart goes out to all involved. I am so glad that God is faithful--always!