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Grieving US parents find 'dead' son at girlfriend's home

In the early hours of Thursday, a couple in Alaska received the news every parent dreads to hear: Their child was dead.

Only, he wasn't.

But for hours, Jay and Karen Priest thought their 29-year-old son was dead and grieved his death.

It all started when state troopers knocked on their door around 3am and told them Justin had died in a traffic accident.

The couple called the police, who confirmed their son was the victim.

Devastated, they called their relatives to tell them of Justin's demise, but decided to tell their other son, Cody, and Justin's girlfriend, Julia, in person.

The grief-stricken pair drove to Cody's house to break the news. The trio then drove to Julia's house, reported news site Mashable.

During the drive, the trio discussed how they would share the news with Julia, who had been with 29-year-old Justin for five years.

They were worried she would not take the news well.

But when they knocked on her door at 5.30am, it was Justin who opened the door.

Shocked, astonished 

Shouts of disbelief were followed by tears of relief as the trio surrounded Justin, hugged him and told them they loved him.

Alaska Dispatch News reported the 63-year-old father as saying: "I was shocked and astonished and had to keep grabbing him and hugging him."

"I never cried so much in all my life."

Mail Online reported Justin as saying: "'I didn't know why they were yelling and screaming. I was mostly asleep."

Apologised for error

After the intense emotions subsided, the family called the police and told them of the identity mix-up.

It turned out that the victim was a man with the same name, Justin Priest.

Juneau Police Chief Bryce Johnson apologised for the error and for for "any anguish our mistake has caused".

The victim's actual family was informed of the news on Thursday afternoon, reported JuneauEmpire.com.

Justin said that while his family is relieved, another family has lost a son, reported Alaska Dispatch News.

He wrote on Facebook: "Think of them (my parents) this week as well as the family of the other Justin."

Sources: Alaska Dispatch News, Mashable, Huffington Post, Mail Online, Juneau Empire

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