On the day of the funeral, when the children saw the open coffin, they found something amiss and wondered if the corpse was really that of their father's.
Victoria Sarmiento ended the year 2020 with a tragedy - during a visit to the local hospital on December 30, she was told by hospital staff that her husband, Julio, passed away from coronavirus. Sarmiento reportedly identified the body that she was shown in the hospital morgue, after which the medical staff released the corpse to the grieving wife.
Making arrangements to pay the last respects to her husband, Victoria from El Carmen, Honduras, arranged to have Julio's body be taken 30 miles away from the hospital to her village in the western municipality of San Nicolas, Copan. She then spent one entire night surrounded by distressed relatives as they had an all-night wake before his final burial the next day.
On the day of the funeral, Julio's children saw the open coffin and found something amiss. They took a look at the body and wondered whether it was really that of their father's. But despite their doubts, the relatives reportedly went ahead with the ceremony and the man was laid to rest in a funeral that Victoria spent more than $430 (£320) on.
In the days that followed, Victoria continued grieving for her husband until, out of nowhere, she saw Julio himself arrive back at their house on the fourth day since the funeral was held.
"That wasn't my husband who died, because I have my husband here now. I recognised him," the wife told Hondura's LaPrensa newspaper, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
It was only after her husband returned home that Victoria discovered he had been missing for a few days because he went for a walk and fell over at a spot in the neighboring municipality. Unable to get up, the man spent several days there, surviving without anything to drink or eat.
He was later found injured in a field before his return home. Although her husband was back, it also meant that she buried a complete stranger in her village and her family has no idea who they were grieving for.
"I would like them to give me back some of what I spent, because they gave me the body of someone I don't know," Victoria shared. "The authorities at the morgue should have properly examined him to see if it was really him."
But on the other hand, the Hospital de Occident said that the wife was to blame for misidentifying the man as her husband. They confirmed that the man arrived on December 27 with Covid-19, and because of his serious condition, he didn't survive in the hospital for more than a few hours.
"The instruction of the Municipal Emergency Committee is to leave a patient who dies from Covid in cold rooms for six days in case a family member appears," said Juan Carlos Cardona, the director or the hospital "Then the wife appears, bringing his identity card, recognises him and says he's her husband."
Cardona added that the hospital staff had a look at the picture Victoria was carrying of her husband, and they found him to resemble the body of the man in the morgue. In addition to this, Victoria herself recognized the body at the time as that of her husband's.
"With the correct security protocols the plastic bag was opened and she said that it was him," Cardona added. "That's why the body was released to her."
The hospital director went on to say, "The logical thing was to bring the body back so we could investigate. But later the relatives called back and said he was the right person after all and they were going to bury him. We have everything documented. We even have an apology from one of the children, if this becomes a lawsuit."