The family of a 49-year-old man found dead on a Boyle Heights street last year is suing Los Angeles County and the coroner for negligence, after the man’s body was given by mistake to members of another family, who buried him in Mexico.
City News Service reported that the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Monday, alleges the coroner tried to cover up the facts once the error was found.
The 11 plaintiffs in the suit are the siblings, half-siblings and daughter of Armando Luna Panuco, whose body was found on Feb. 3, 2019, on a sidewalk near a restaurant on Indiana Street.
When neighbors were unable to identify the body, the coroner’s office turned it over to the wrong family. Panuco’s family filed a missing-person report last summer and were told by the coroner’s office that the body was turned over to another family, who took the corpse and buried it in Mexico. According to the lawsuit, the body remains buried in Mexico and the grieving family in Los Angeles has not been able to recover it.
The plaintiffs allege the coroner used improper identification procedures when handling the body. A representative for the coroner told CNS that her office does not comment on pending litigation.