Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
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Meet Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak: one buried under the wrong name, one in a coma and being cared for by the wrong family.
This shocking case of mistaken identity stunned the country and made national news. Would it destroy a family? Shatter their faith? Push two families into bitterness, resentment, and guilt?
Read this unprecedented story of two traumatized families who describe their ordeal and explore the bond sustaining and uniting them as they deal with their bizarre reversal of life lost and life found.
And join Whitney Cerak, the sole surviving student, as she comes to terms with her new identity, forever altered, yet on the brink of new beginnings.
Mistaken Identity weaves a complex tale of honesty, vulnerability, loss, hope, faith, and love in the face of one of the strangest twists of circumstances imaginable.
that the way they would choose to inform those praying would arouse interest in Laura’s story far beyond their circle of friends. Soon people around the world were checking in on Laura every day and lifting her up to God in prayer. Thurs., April 27 This was a long day. You are loved by so many—I can’t begin to name all the people who came by or called. Paul and Aunt Sue were here early. Also a real support to us. So many expressions of love, we have so much to be grateful for! I was shaky
because I am weak and in pain, but He is carrying me and my family. And these are not just words that help me feel better and help me cope with my loss. I know the living God, and, just like Whitney underlined in her Bible, my soul yearns and even faints for Him. He is my hope because of His unbelievable love. I will someday be in front of Him—next to my sister. CARLY, SPOKEN AT WHITNEY’S FUNERAL The Ceraks awoke Sunday morning with a sense of finality. All the activity of the past few days
features and body type. As Whitney continued to heal from her injuries and became more conscious of her surroundings, her comments led the Van Ryns to doubt that she was their daughter Laura. The Van Ryns brought their concerns to Continuing Care staff, who initiated an exam of dental records. By late Tuesday evening it was determined that Laura’s dental records did not match those of the patient at the Continuing Care Center. Whitney’s identity was confirmed through her dental records early
your daughter. Would it be possible to ask you a few questions about her passing and the identity switch with the other girl?” It’s already starting, Don thought. “We’ve issued a statement through Spectrum Health, and that’s all we have to say right now,” he said, then turned to go back to installing the air conditioner. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially a reporter. “Isn’t there anything further you would like to say? So many people have followed this story, and they have many, many
pleading with God herself. As she prayed, Terra’s parents, who also lived in the area, walked into her living room and began praying as well. Soon Jim Mathis joined them. As time dragged by and the phone did not ring, Colleen used a cell phone to call some old friends in Upland, thinking that perhaps the local media had released more information. No one knew anything more. County officials still had not released any names. Finally Colleen tried one last possible connection in Indiana, but no one