In Brief

Family break tomb open after hearing girl struggle in coffin

Honduran teenager was later confirmed to be dead, but bruised fingers raise questions

150826-coffin.jpg

The family of a Honduran teenager broke into her tomb with a mallet after her boyfriend reported unusual sounds from inside.

Nelsy Perez, 16, was engaged and three months pregnant when she died last month, near the city of Copán. Perez's official cause of death was reported in Honduran media as a heart attack, possibly brought on by gunfire near her home – although her family reportedly believed that she was possessed in the days before she died.

Shortly after the funeral, Perez's boyfriend, Rody Gonzales, was visiting the tomb when he began to hear unusual noises from within. A cemetery worker also claimed he could hear the sounds, and soon a crowd gathered. Video footage shows a mallet being used to smash the tomb and retrieve the coffin.

According to The Guardian, relatives say that a glass panel in the coffin was damaged, and that there was bruising on Perez's fingers. They believe this was the result of a struggle, although a police investigator working on the case suggested that the glass was damaged by gases within the coffin.

Another clip shows friends and relatives holding a vigil beside Perez, who lies in a hospital bed after being rushed to the nearest medical clinic.

Claudia Lopez, the doctor on call when the family arrived with the seemingly revived body, recalls how the frantic party "almost broke down the door to get in". However, there were no signs of life in Perez when tests were conducted.

Although legends of people wrongly pronounced dead and buried alive are mostly confined to the distant past, when medical technology was primitive, rare instances continue to occur to this day. In August last year, a three-year-old girl in the Philippines woke up at her own funeral and began to stir in her coffin, prompting screams from the congregation. She too was later pronounced dead.

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