The man’s wife and her relatives mistakenly told police in Japan that the body of a man found in a river was him and officers even handed it over to them.
The mix-up only came to light when the woman’s husband, who is in his 40s, returned alive to Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, last month.
It turned out the body, which was found about a year ago, was actually that of a missing Tokyo man in his 30s.
Police were able to positively identify the remains using fingerprint technology and are now set to hand them over to the correct family. Officers have apologised for the mistake.
Tomoaki Uehara, from the metropolitan police department in Tokyo, said: “The incident is extremely regrettable.
“We’re determined to prevent a recurrence.”
The body was found in the Edo river in the capital’s Katsushika Ward on 21 June last year after the victim drowned.
The same day as the discovery a missing person’s report was filed on a Tokyo man in his 30s.
Police suspected the body might be that of the man in his 40s from Matsudo, and after his relatives examined the body they wrongly claimed it was their family member.
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