Mistaken identity: mother told her son is dead, but he’s not

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EAST CLEVELAND, OH – Twenty one-year-old Michael Dejean Powell’s family thought he was dead for about two hours on Sunday morning.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol had identified him as the person who was struck and killed by an East Cleveland police cruiser Saturday night.

“I woke up and seen my phone had a million texts; my mom was trying to figure out where I was,” Powell said.  “So I called her and she almost had a heart attack on the phone. She was basically saying, ‘I thought you was dead! I though you was dead!'”

But Michael was very much alive.

He lost his wallet Saturday evening on the Rapid and somehow, that wallet and ID wound up in the pocket of 22-year-old Christopher Deshon Kimble Jr., the man who was actually struck by the East Cleveland cruiser.

Michael’s mom Wenda Lamar didn’t find out about the mistake she said until she was almost at the coroner’s door.

“For a moment in time we lost our child, our son, our grandson. Someone should be responsible for that mistake,” Lamar said.

The State Patrol said all of its procedures for next of kin notification were followed in this case.

OHP Spokesman Lieutenant Travis Hughes said this case was difficult because the victim was a pedestrian.

He said if Kimble had been in a car, they could have cross-checked the ID with VIN numbers and license tags.

But in this case, the man struck by the cruiser only had one piece of ID on him and that identified him as Michael Dejean Powell.

“The expectation is that the ID that somebody has in their wallet is in fact them,”  Lieutenant Hughes said. “It’s not common that someone else carries around someone else’s ID.”

Lamar told Fox 8 News she feels for the family of the man who was hit and has had to wait days to find out their loved one was dead.

“They said this happened at 10 o’clock at night; from that time, there was no one with that person. They died alone,” she said.

The State Patrol released Kimble’s identity late Monday afternoon after more than two days.

Meantime, Michael hasn’t been able to get his ID and wallet back from authorities. He said they told him he has to prove who he is to get it.

He said he’s looking for a new job and needs his wallet and social security card.

“I got a job interview today; I can’t go to,” he said.

The State Patrol said it is still looking at all evidence in the incident that took the life of Christopher Deshon Kimble, Jr.

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