5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wrong girl declared dead in Taylor crash

On April 26th there was an accident near Upland, IN on I-69 when a semitrailer truck struck a van carrying a group of students from Taylor University. Laura VanRyn and Whitney Cerak were two of the students on board. The two girls bear a great resemblance to each other. The deceased VanRyn's ID was placed on the injured Cerak at the scene. Cerak was then hospitalized under VanRyn's name and VanRyn was buried by Cerak's family in her hometown.

Cerak was initially in a coma, with a badly swollen face and neck brace. Even when she slowly emerged from her coma more than a week ago, the mix-up wasn't immediately discovered. Doubts finally cropped up with VanRyn's family when the facial swelling subsided and the girl responded to the name "Laura" by saying "Whitney." The mix-up was eventually confirmed by dental records and families were told of the mistake yesterday.

Can you even imagine?

You send your child off to college and there is a terrible accident where many students die. You're told your child is alive and you sit by her bedside for 5 weeks only to find out that it is someone else. For over a month you have prayed over and nursed someone else's child while your child was buried and grieved over by strangers. Now all the fear, worry, relief, stress, anxiety, etc. that you have been through is replaced by numbness and grief as you discover your child has been buried by another family under their daughter's name.

Or you're told your child is dead and you grieve and bury her and spend the past 5 weeks wondering why your child? How did this happen? Grieving for the life that she should have lead. Then you discover that another family has been sitting by her bedside and she is ALIVE! The shock must have been unbelieveable.

It's so tragic and mixed up and soap opera-ish. I feel so sorry for the VanRyn family. I hope that they can comfort each other and heal from their loss. I hope that the Cerak family is able to cherish every day that they've been given with their daughter from here on out. These are kind of stories that definately make me want to hold my children tighter and thank goodness for our own good luck, health and safety.

Laura VanRyn's blog


  • At 5:14 PM, June 01, 2006 , Blogger Anne said...

    what an incredibly tragic and depressing story. I cannot begin to imagine what that must like for the poor families. Those poor people.


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