Woman wrongly declared dead who shocked relatives by knocking on coffin at funeral dies after hospital stay

19 June 2023, 09:26

Ms Montoya shocked relatives by knocking on her coffin at her funeral
Ms Montoya shocked relatives by knocking on her coffin at her funeral. Picture: Ecuador Comunicación

By Will Taylor

A woman who shocked relatives by knocking on her coffin at her own wake when they believed she had died has now passed away.

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Bella Montoya was declared dead in hospital in Ecuador after a suspected stroke and loved ones held a funeral for her.

But the 76-year-old, who was taken to A&E unconscious, woke up in the coffin to the shock of those who were holding a vigil for her at a funeral parlour in Babahoyo.

She was rushed to intensive care but died after seven days, her family said. The health ministry in Ecuador confirmed she died from an ischaemic stroke.

Read more: ‘Dead’ woman rushed to hospital after relatives heard her banging on coffin during her own wake

The ministry also said she had been under "permanent surveillance" but no further details have been revealed about the medical investigation into what happened.

A formal complaint has been lodged by Ms Montoya's sister, who wants to identify the doctor who declared the retired nurse dead, while her son Gilberto said the authorities have not given a medical explanation about the incident.

Ms Montoya was taken to the same funeral home where she shocked relatives.

"It gave us all a fright. After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds," her son said previously.

"My mum was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached we could see that she was breathing heavily.

"My mum started to move her left hand, to open her eyes, her mouth; she struggled to breathe."

Video taken by mourners showed the woman lying in the casket struggling to breathe while they waited for an ambulance.

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