Two Chicago sisters were shocked to find their brother alive and well after they agreed to end life support for a man police previously identified as their sibling.
Reports said one of the sisters, Rosie Brooks, received a call from Mercy Hospital in Chicago on May 13 informing her that Alfonso Bennett, her brother, was in intensive care. The man had allegedly been found naked on the streets and badly beaten in the face on the city's South Side on April 29. Responding officers were unable to find an ID on his person, Daily Mail reports.
As soon as they heard the news, Brooks took her sister Brenda Bennett-Johnson to the hospital to check up on their "sibling."
Speaking to WBBM-TV, Brooks said, "They had him on the ventilator, and they had a tube in his mouth."
Authorities told the hospital the man on life support was Alfonso Bennett, without any substantial proof. On the other hand, the sisters weren't sure that was him.
"They kept saying CPD identified this person as our brother," Bennett-Johnson said.
The sisters then learned from a nurse that police had identified the man as Alfonso Bennett using prior mugshots as he had a criminal record. Police added that owing to budget cuts, they were unable to use fingerprint analysis to definitively ID the man.
"You don’t identify a person through a mugshot versus fingerprints," Bennett-Johnson said. "Fingerprints carries everything."
That said, the man on life support was responding to questions by raising his hand. However, he never opened his eyes. When the sisters learned his condition was rapidly deteriorating, they allowed the hospital to take him off life support.
Furthermore, they also agreed to let doctors perform a tracheotomy - a procedure to puncture the windpipe to relieve an obstruction to breathing - before he was placed in hospice care.
"Within minutes he was ice cold," Bennett-Johnson said.
The sisters mourned and made funeral arrangements after his death. They bought a suit and a casket to prepare for the burial, all the while thinking it was their brother who had passed on.
But they received a phone call from one of their sisters sometime before the funeral.
"She called my sister Yolanda to say, 'It’s a miracle! It’s a miracle!'" said Brooks. "'Brenda! Brenda! It’s Alfonso! It’s Alfonso!' I said, 'You’re kidding!'
"I could have almost had a heart attack," Bennett-Johnson said.
They later learned Bennett was alive and well and was only visiting with one of his sisters when he was reported missing.
"It’s sad that it happened like that," Bennett-Johnson said. "If it was our brother and we had to go through that, that would have been a different thing. We made all kinds of decisions on someone that wasn’t our family."
Having said that, the man who was removed from life support was later identified via fingerprint analysis. Officers are currently trying to locate his family.
CPD has taken the matter seriously and is currently investigating the mishap.