Sisters take wrong man off life support thinking it was their brother

CHICAGO, Illinois -- A group of sisters were in the middle of making funeral arrangements for a man they believed was their dead brother, but later learned John Doe was not their relative at all.

According to WBBM in Chicago, the unfortunate case of mistaken identity began when Rosie Brooks received a call from a social worker at Mercy Hospital looking for relatives of Alfonso Bennett. She identified herself as his sister and was told he was in the ICU on a ventilator with a tube in his mouth after being badly beaten.

Rosie and her sister, Brenda Bennett-Johnson, rushed to the hospital but claim they could not identify the man as their brother due to the significant swelling and injuries on the man's face.

A staff spokesperson disputes the family's claim and says they did in fact positively ID the man as their relative.

"They kept saying, 'CPD identified this person as our brother," Bennett-Johnson said.

The man had been found naked and badly beaten, according to hospital staff. The family says a nurse told them police ID'd their brother through a mugshot and not fingerprints, allegedly due to budget cuts.

According to WBBM, police reportedly do not take fingerprints unless a crime is committed or after the body is delivered to the morgue.

When the man's condition began to languish, the sisters made the tough decision to have him taken off the ventilator and gave doctor's permission to perform a tracheotomy. The man went into hospice and passed soon after.

The sisters purchased a casket, a suit and made other arrangements for his funeral. Around the same time, another sister called to say their real brother had walked into her home.

"It's sad it happened like that," Johnson said. "If it was our brother, and we had to go through that, that would have been a different thing. But we made all kinds of decisions on someone who wasn't our family."

The man they had been caring for was later ID'd at the morgue through fingerprints. At the time of publication, police were still looking for his relatives.