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Whitney Cerak
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Student
    (1987- )
    Critically injured in a school van crash in Grant County, Indiana (April 26, 2006)
    Identity mistaken for deceased student Laura Van Ryn
    Story covered by 'Oprah ,' 'Dateline' and 'Today'
    Student at Taylor University in Indiana
    Subject of the book 'Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope'
    Her age suggests that she was named after a singer who was popular at the time she was born.
    Her identity became mixed with a look alike accident victim Laura Van Ryn, who died at the same crash.
    At her funeral, it was actually her mix-up twin Laura occupying the casket.
    For five weeks, her family believed she was buried when she really was emerging from a coma and recovering in the hospital.
    When her therapist repeatedly called her 'Laura,' Whitney couldn't correct her because of her weakened ability to speak.
    She survived a horrific accident that killed five other people, including her look-alike schoolmate, Laura Van Ryn.
    Her parents' refusal to view what was supposed to be Whitney's body was a link in the chain of events that prolonged the mistaken identity problem.
    While she was in a coma, 1400 people attended the funeral that was supposed to be for her.
    The discovery of the mistaken identity gave a daughter back to a bereaved family.
    She made a full recovery and returned to school the following fall season.
    She resembles Ali Larter .

Credit: Battyx3


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