‘Highly likely’ that one of two friends who died of drug overdose was mistakenly cremated

Luke Comiskey (31) and Kane Mitchell (30), both from Dublin and living in Florida, died in April 2022 after consuming drugs laced with fentanyl

A mix-up in labelling the remains of two Irish men who died from drug overdoses in the US likely led to one of the men being mistakenly cremated.

Luke Comiskey (31) and Kane Mitchell (30), both from Dublin and living in Florida, died in April 2022 after consuming drugs laced with fentanyl. The men were discovered in a house in the Pinellas Park area, near the city of St Petersburg.

A man suspected of selling fentanyl to the two Irish men was charged with murder earlier this month, according to local media reports. James Peoples III (33) faces two counts of first-degree murder.

After District Six Medical Examiner’s Office, located in Largo, Florida, completed its investigation into the deaths in April 2022, the bodies of the two men were released to a local funeral home, according to documents obtained by CNN and seen by The Irish Times. At the funeral home, arrangements were made for repatriation of the remains to Ireland.


In July 2022, the bereaved families identified discrepancies in the autopsy reports provided by the medical examiner’s office, having reviewed physical descriptions of the deceased men contained in the reports, according to the documents. An investigation was subsequently launched by the medical examiner’s office.

In correspondence sent to Caoimhe Ní Chonchúir, Consul General of Ireland in Atlanta, William Pellan, director of investigation at the medical examiner’s office, said that it was “highly likely” that labelling tags identifying both deceased were “crossed up”. He said the mix-up likely occurred at the location of death, or upon delivery of the bodies to the medical examiner’s office.

As a result of the identification mix-up, Mr Pellan said it was “highly probable” that the remains of Kane Mitchell were unwittingly buried by the family of Luke Comiskey, while the remains of Mr Comiskey, mistakenly believed to be Mr Mitchell, were cremated.

In correspondence with Ms Ní Chonchúir, Mr Pellan said his office was “very remorseful about the tragedy of this situation”.

Mr Pellan had not responded to queries sent via email on Friday evening.

Reached by phone on Friday evening, a staff member said the medical examiner’s office could not comment on the case “at this time”, as it was under “active criminal investigation”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case, and was providing consular assistance.

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher is an Irish Times journalist