Matt Lauer Interviews Families Involved in Mistaken Identity Tragedy

By Chris Ariens 

Tomorrow on Today and Friday night on Dateline, Matt Lauer interviews the families involved in a tragic case of mistaken identity. Students Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak were involved in a fatal car crash that left five people dead and four others seriously injured in April 2006. An unfathomable case of mistaken identity would follow: Cerak, who was thought to have died, survived and for five weeks was cared for by Van Ryn’s parents.

Colleen Cerak [Whitney’s mother]: “…I remember just right away I could just tell it was Whitney. And I just said, ‘It’s Whitney.’ And you know Carley [Whitney’s sister] just like pushed past me at that point just to run in there. And just almost like fumbled on top of her. Just loving her….which woke Whitney up. And she was just kind of shaking her head like, ‘Yes, it’s Whitney.”

Whitney Cerak (seated, middle) will be a guest on the Today show Friday morning. The interviews are timed to the release of a new book on the case, Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope.