Blog tells story of life, death, mistaken ID

Loved ones who turned to a blog to get updates on the condition of a young car crash victim got some chilling news Wednesday.

Not only had Laura Van Ryn, 22, of Caledonia, Mich., died, but it turned out she had been buried for month.

In a shocking case of mistaken identity, the Van Ryn family was led to believe that Laura Van Ryn, a student at Taylor University in Indiana, was the blond-haired woman who had been hospitalized and, until recently, in a coma, following a fatal car crash in Indiana last month, according to The Associated Press. The blog, kept up by sister Lisa Van Ryn, noted recent progress, such as a successful game of "Connect Four" with a therapist.

But it ended up that the woman the Van Ryns had sat beside in the Indianapolis hospital was actually Whitney Cerek, 18, of Gaylord, Mich., who was also involved in the crash and until today was presumed dead.

Here's part of one of the most recent blog entries:

"What may come to us as a shock, does not shock the One who made us. We have some hard news to share with you today. Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura, but instead a fellow Taylor student of hers, Whitney Cerak. There was a misidentification made at the time of the accident and it is uncanny the resemblence that these two women share. Their body types are similar, their hair color and texture, their facial features, etc. During the past couple of days, as Whitney had been becoming more aware of her surroundings, she'd been saying and doing some things that made us question whether or not she was Laura."

So far there are 225 comments on this particular entry, most of which are offerings of prayer, love and support.

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Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.

 

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