Indiana parents spend weeks at their daughter's bedside, awaiting her emergence from a coma. When she comes to, the girl says she isn't their daughter - she's actually another blonde who was in the car wreck. Which means their own daughter has already been buried.
For the past week, the family of Laura VanRyn, 22, had been using a blog to keep friends and loved ones up to date on the young woman's progress since the April 26 crash involving several students at Taylor University. The young woman was in a rehab center in Grand Rapid, Mich, when she started coming to.
Monday, the mother, Lisa VanRyn wrote, "While certain things seem to be coming back to her, she still has times where she'll say things that don't make much sense." When she was able to write her name, she wrote:
A 19-year-old thought to have died in the crash five weeks before.
Dental records confirmed it was not Van Ryn at the rehab center.
Yesterday, the family wrote:
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. Over 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. Yesterday, we talked with a Spectrum staff member and began the process of making a positive ID. We now know without a doubt, that this is Whitney.
The Cerak family came down from Gaylord and we had the privelege of meeting with them this morning. While we discussed some of the action steps that will need to take place over the next couple of days, we were also able to share with them some of the great things we have seen Whitney accomplish over the past month. It is a sorrow and a joy for us to learn of this turn of events. For us, we will mourn Laura's going home and will greatly miss her compassionate heart and sweetness while knowing that she is safe and with her King forever. We rejoice with the Ceraks, that they will have more time on this earth with their daughter, sister, and loved one.
Here's an AP article on what happened. A longer version from the Indianapolis Star.