‘Our girl came back from the dead!'
Tuesday 03 August 2010
A week ago Sergio and Maria Guerra were preparing to bury their daughter Abby after being told she’d died in a horrific car smash. But, incredibly, two days before they were due to bury her, hospital staff revealed that she was still alive.
In an awful medical mix-up Abby, 19, (in the first picture) had been misidentified as best friend Marlena Cantu, 21, (in the second picture) who was in the same car accident.
The Guerras were elated, but the news devastated the Cantu family when they found out their daughter had died.
Abby is still critically ill, but doctors believe she’ll survive. Speaking exclusively to Closer, her aunt Dorenda Cisneros tells how the family are praying she pulls through.
“We’ve all been overwhelmed with emotion,” says Dorenda, 35, an administrator from Peoria, Arizona. “When Sergio and Maria were told their daughter had been killed all their hopes for her ended.
“To be told Abby was alive, that she’d come back from the dead… We were overjoyed, but there is sadness for Marlena’s family. We know what they’re going through.”
The story echoes that of Whitney Cerak and Laura Van Ryn, which made headlines in 2006. Whitney’s family had been told she was dead only to find out five weeks later that she was alive and had just come out of a coma. She had been confused with her friend Laura after a car accident.
The recent mix-up took place after ambulances brought Abby and Marlena and three other passengers to hospital in Arizona, after their 4x4 overturned when a tyre blew as they drove back from Disneyland.
Their parents were asked to provide information about the girls’ appearances that could help identify them.
Sergio, 46, who works in construction, wife Maria, 45, a shop assistant, and son David, 23, were told Abby, who’d won a scholarship to university, had died. Dorenda found out the next day.
A plea by Maria to see her daughter one last time was turned down by overworked staff, who said dental records would be checked before the funeral, due to take place on 26 July.
The girl the Cantu family believed was their daughter had suffered head injuries, a broken back and punctured lung and was unrecognisable due to facial swelling and having her head shaved for a brain operation.
“We were told Marlena was alive and that was all that mattered,” says Marlena’s dad Frank, 51. “Who was I to question doctors?”
Friends had often remarked on how much Abby and Marlena looked alike. They had similar clothes and hairstyles.
Colleen Donovan, a friend of both girls, says: “They were pretty much inseparable.”
When dental records were finally checked six days after the accident, mortuary officials realised the tragic mix-up.
“We were stunned,” says Dorenda, who says her niece hopes to be a nurse. “Maria broke down and hugged Abby.
She said it was a miracle and kept stroking Abby’s face to reassure herself she was really there.
“But they’re also angry that they’ve been in mourning for almost a week. And Abby will be devastated when she hears her friend has died.”
Marlena’s dad adds: “My only comfort is knowing my daughter didn’t suffer. We prayed for Marlena to recover, to have her taken suddenly because of a mistake is so hard. But I’m happy for the Guerras.”
By Paul Thompson
Posted by littlemissbitch
RE: ‘Our girl came back from the dead!'
i feel sorry for the family who did not have time to say there goodbyes as they was told there daughter was still alive and the other family and sorted the funneral out so now there daughter is alive and they have not know that i am so sorry for all your new and hope ya daughter gets better soon and to the other family hope you can put her to rest soon x
Posted 03/10/2012 14:32:11