The District Six Medical Examiner Office in Florida is “very remorseful” after it mislabeled the remains of Irish men Kane Mitchell and Luke Comiskey, friends who died in Florida in April 2022.

A shocking new report from CNN details how the families of Mitchell and Comiskey came to realize the devastating error.

CNN said it learned of the “mix-up” from a law enforcement source who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak with the media about the case.

Under open-records law, CNN was able to review documents that confirmed the mix-up, including letters from the Irish consulate in Atlanta to the medical examiner’s office and investigators involved in the case.

Mitchell, 30, and Kane, 31, were found dead in their Pinellas Park, Florida apartment on April 22, 2022. After autopsies, their bodies were repatriated to Dublin, where Comiskey’s funeral was held on May 7, and Mitchell’s was on May 9.

Later, in July, the families received the autopsy reports of the two men. However, they noticed discrepancies in the physical descriptions contained in the autopsy and notified the medical examiner’s office two weeks later on August 12, 2022.

According to CNN, William Pellan, director of Investigations at the District Six Medical Examiner Office, said in an August 2022 letter that it assigned case numbers to each victim after police alerted them to the deaths.

The letter said that the medical examiner’s office determined that the remains of the two Irish men had been mislabeled after looking at digital photos, past documents, and verifying the past injuries and tattoos on the victims. 

It’s unclear at what point the mix-up occurred, Pellan's letter said.

“It has been determined with a high degree of certainty that the two decedents appear to have been mislabeled at the location of death or upon delivery to the Medical Examiner Office,” the letter said.

“This very unfortunate mistake resulted in reports of autopsy being produced with the wrong decedent name, but more significantly, the decedents being released from the Medical Examiner Office with the wrong identity affixed to identification labels,” the letter said.

Pellan said in the letter that an investigation was being launched.

“Both families were informed from the very beginning that any costs associated with this very unfortunate chain of events will be paid for by this office,” he wrote, according to CNN.

“I have spoken to both (families) multiple times to provide them with updates and keeping open lines of communication. I have spoken with both funeral homes in Ireland about the situation.”

Plans were underway to exhume Mitchell’s body and confirm his identity through tattoos and DNA analysis, Pellan wrote in August 2022. He said his office was prepared to send their forensic pathologists to Dublin on the day of the exhumation to help verify the victims’ identities.

However, in its March 1 report, CNN said it could not determine if the body had been exhumed and identified. Pellan did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, Pinellas Park Police Department announced on February 19 that James Peoples III had been arrested and charged with two counts of murder in the first degree in connection with the deaths of Mitchell and Comiskey.

The police department said its detectives began an investigation on April 23, 2022, following the tragic overdose of the Irish nationals who resided in a shared apartment in Pinellas Park where they were both discovered deceased on April 23, 2022.

The Medical Examiner’s toxicology report confirmed that both individuals died as a result of a fentanyl overdose. Investigators determined that the fentanyl responsible for this tragedy was sold by 33-year-old Peoples.

Chief Geissenberger of the Pinellas Park Police Department commented: "The devastating consequences of fentanyl abuse are clear in this heartbreaking incident. 

“Our agency and city stand unwavering in its commitment to tackle the scourge of fentanyl overdoses head-on. 

“We will pursue justice relentlessly and continue our efforts to safeguard our community from the perils of this deadly substance."