Walter Williams Mississippi’s Dead Man’s Folly Perishes at 78

Walter Williams
Walter Williams, a 78-year-old Mississippi man, has perished two weeks after a dead’s man’s folly occurred and he woke up at a funeral home after being mistakenly pronounced dead. According to the county coroner, the previously resurrected man passed away at his home in Mississippi on early Thursday morning and no cause of death was released to the public. The deceased man’s story became a viral news story when the details of his ordeal came to light.

The dead man’s folly occurred two weeks earlier when the coroner for Holmes County, Miss., Dexter Howard, was called to the presumed dead man’s bedside on February 26th. Howard was informed by Williams’ hospice nurse and a family member that he had perished. Once the coroner arrived at the scene, he and hospice medical personnel at Williams’ home checked the man’s vitals and determined there was no pulse. Williams was declared dead by the coroner, placed in a body bag, and transported to a funeral home. While preparing his body for the embalming process, workers at the funeral home discovered that Williams was moving and breathing. Paramedics were called to the funeral home, they evaluated the previously presumed dead man, and discovered a heartbeat and vital signs. The Mississippi man was immediately taken to the hospital and subsequently released a few days later.

Doctors suspect that Walter Williams, a 78-year-old Mississippi man who has perished two weeks after a dead’s man’s folly occurred, was mistakenly pronounced dead on February 26th due to a mixture of medication that made his vital signs unresponsive. Moreover, medical personnel and Williams’ family suspect that his pacemaker could have stopped working and then restarted after he was placed in the body bag. Williams was a father of 11 and grandfather of 15 and had gone into hospice care in late February due to congestive heart failure. When the dead man’s folly occurred, the coroner called it a miracle while the deceased man’s family was simply grateful for more time with him.

An interesting wrinkle to this case that should be noted is the county coroner, Dexter Howard, who pronounced Williams dead on both occasions is an elected official and not a medical doctor. This situation is not exclusive to Holmes County or the state of Mississippi. In fact, more than 1,500 counties in the United States elect coroners and most don’t require medical degrees. However, Howard has held his position as county coroner for 12 years and had served as deputy coroner for another 10 years before ascending to his current position. Howard contends he has never seen anything like the Williams’ case and remains resolute in the certainty that Williams had perished when he examined and pronounced him dead on February 26.

Mike Murphy, who is the coroner for Clark County, Nevada and past president of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, said he could not comment on Williams’ dead man’s folly case without thoroughly reviewing all the details, but has read accounts of people returning to life at funeral homes “from time to time.” When asked if he’d ever heard of a case in which a pacemaker played a role in resurrecting someone, Murphy said he personally hadn’t. However, he was quick to point out that just because he hadn’t heard about it doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred.

The death of Walter Williams, a 78-year-old Mississippi man who has perished two weeks after a dead man’s folly occurred, brings to conclusion the extraordinary life of a Mississippi farmer who survived a surreal occurrence. Some might call the dead man’s folly a miracle, while others could consider the experience a life extension or grace period to tie up loose ends. The Mississippi man was given time to settle his affairs and make sure he was surrounded by his family and friends when his time did come. What more could anyone ask for when meeting their maker?

By Leigh Haugh

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GLV–Leigh Haugh

Sources:
Washington Post
CNN
New Zealand Herald
Detroit News

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