Neysi Perez was only 16 when her family laid her to rest. Three months pregnant at the time, the La Entrada, Honduras, teen was buried in her wedding dress. She had collapsed at home one night and never regained consciousness.
But, according to the Univision news show Primer Impacto, her family members are claiming that the day after her funeral, they visited her concrete tomb and heard stirrings inside.
“As I put my hand on her grave, I could hear noises inside,” the teen’s mother, Maria Gutierrez, told the news show. “I heard banging, then I heard her voice. She was screaming for help.”
“It had already been a day since we buried her,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic, full of hope.”
Footage of the incident shows Perez’s family members breaking open the tomb using a sledgehammer.
Once extracted, Perez, still in her coffin, was transported to a nearby hospital. According to reports from her family members, a glass window on her tomb had been shattered, and she had bruises on her hands. A cousin, Carolina Perez, told Primero Impacto that the body was still warm and that she felt a faint heartbeat.
Once at the hospital, staff tried to revive the teen, but they eventually concluded that she was clinically dead.
“Everybody was claiming she was alive, so I went through all the necessary procedures,” said hospital doctor Claudia Lopez. “We evaluated and tried everything, but the girl was dead. They put her back in the coffin and took her away again, back to the cemetery.”
Perez was ultimately reburied in the same mausoleum she’d been pulled out of hours before.
According to reports, Perez may have collapsed as a result of a panic attack after hearing a burst of gunfire nearby. Alternatively, she may have suffered a cataplectic episode – a reaction to strong emotion such as terror that leaves its victims without muscle control but still conscious. If Perez had been interred while alive, she may have died of oxygen deprivation while in the tomb.
Whatever the case, Gutierrez told Primer Impacto that she believes the doctors may have prematurely declared her daughter dead.
“Even after a day in the tomb, the color of her body was normal. Her corpse didn’t smell. She just looked like she was in a deep sleep,” she said. “There was no rigor mortis. Her body was still flexible. It was impossible that she had been dead for so many hours.”
“We were all so happy,” she said. “I thought I was going to get my daughter back.”