SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A new DNA discovery has given a Southwest Miami-Dade family the answers they need to move forward from a tragic car accident after a major mistake happened during the investigation.
Friday was filled with tears and emotions for Diana Rivers and Kim Rivers Sr. because, after nearly five weeks, they got official confirmation that their son, Kim Rivers Jr., was killed in a crash on the Turnpike in Palm Beach County.
“He was my caretaker. He did everything for me,” Diana said. “He took me to my doctor’s appointments. He cooked for me.”
The Rivers family said in February, they learned their son’s car had been in a crash that caused the vehicle to roll over and catch fire. The driver died at the scene.
“They say he was in a car accident,” Diana said. “He was burned beyond recognition, and they needed to swab us for DNA.”
Officials needed the DNA to officially confirm the Rivers’ son was the man behind the wheel. Without that official confirmation, the family said they could not finalize funeral arrangements or move forward with the grieving process.
“They have had to give me things for my nerves,” Diana said. “I have a pacemaker. I can’t sleep.”
7News has been trying to get information on why it was taking so long for the family to get the results since last week.
A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol said they sent the DNA samples to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office soon after the crash but did not realize that department does not do kinship analysis to determine who the victim was related to.
After a few weeks, FHP said they went back and got new samples from the family and sent it to another department who was able to provide the results on Friday.
“I’m not trying to point blame on who did what or who didn’t do what,” Kim said. “It’s just ridiculous that it took over a month.”
The family said finally having the information does not make what happened any easier, but it’s a big step in the path towards closure.
“I’m just happy that it’s done, and I don’t want it to happen to any other family like this,” Kim said.
The Rivers family said they are now going to finalize their son’s funeral arrangements.
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