published Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Mississippi man who awakened inside body bag dies

LEXINGTON, Miss. — A 78-year-old Mississippi man has died two weeks after he woke up in a body bag at a funeral home after being mistakenly pronounced deceased, a coroner said.

Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard said Walter Williams died at his home in Lexington around 1 a.m. Thursday. The cause was not released.

Williams' story went viral after he was pronounced dead Feb. 26. Workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were getting ready to embalm him when Williams started to move.

The father of 11, grandfather of 15, and great-grandfather of six had gone into hospice in late February because of congestive heart failure. He was declared dead by a coroner the first time when neither the coroner nor others, including nurses, could find a pulse.

"After they got through checking him, the coroner, they pronounced him dead and put him in a plastic bag, zipped him up and took him, put him in the hearse and they left," said Eddie Hester, Williams' nephew.

"The mortician said something wasn't right," said Williams' daughter, Martha A. Lewis. "His leg started moving."

Williams was rushed to a hospital and released a few days later. Doctors say a mix of medicines may have caused his vital signs to appear unresponsive.

Family members also said Williams' pacemaker may have stopped working and started again.

"God gave us a little more time with him, and we're happy about that," Mary Williams said after her father got home.

Howard, the coroner, called it a miracle at the time.

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