In August, Angela Winters got the call she had been dreading since her 27-year-old son went missing from a halfway house in June, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office notified her that a badly burned body found July 2 in Lancaster, California, had been identified as Adam Buckley, her son, reported the Los Angeles Times.
“I was horrified,” Winters, of Santa Clarita, California, told KCBS. “I was terrified that something like that had happened to my son. And I was consumed at his last moments and what they must have been like.”
Then the coroner’s office called back as Winters prepared for her son’s celebration of life, reported the Daily News.
Winters learned her son had been arrested Aug. 25 in Torrance, California, on suspicion of vagrancy and booked into a Los Angeles jail, the publication reported.
“I was relieved but to be honest I’m still in a very confused state,” Winters told KCBS. “First, they told me my son was positively identified as being murdered. Then they told me they made a mistake.”
Buckley was last seen Aug. 28 when he was released from jail, reported the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Twitter.
“I can’t sleep. I can’t eat,” Winters told KCBS. “The only thing I’m concerned with at this point is finding my son.”
The confusing chain of events began when location scouts for a film discovered a badly burned body July 2 in a cistern at an abandoned house in Lancaster, reported the Daily News.
The coroner’s office couldn’t identify the badly damaged body from fingerprints or bone DNA, but an X-ray seemed to match one belonging to the missing Buckley, prompting the mistaken notification to Winters, reported the Times.
“We would like to publicly apologize to the family of the man who was misidentified as the decedent, and also express our regrets to the community we serve,” coroner’s officials wrote in a statement outlining the mistake, according to the publication.
The office is conducting additional tests to try to identify the body, including on DNA retrieved from a muscle, reported the Daily News.
But Winters just wants to find her son, reported KNSD.
“He has been diagnosed with several conditions, one of which is schizophrenia, and he needs help,” she said, according to the station. “He needs to be found as soon as possible.”
She asked that anyone with information on Buckley’s whereabouts call 805-259-9120 or 661-425-3178.