An elderly Lexington man had something of a rude awakening on Thursday morning. He found himself in a body bag in a funeral home.
Walter Williams' miraculous recovery from being declared dead has all the officials talking about miracles.
"I asked the coroner what happened, and the only thing he could say is that it's a miracle," Holmes County Sheriff Willie March said.
Coroner Dexter Howard said he got a call from the family and one from Hospice, both saying Williams had passed away. He called Porter Funeral Home and met the owner and they rode to the home together.
The 78-year-old lifelong farmer is a Hospice patient, so Howard checked the body and prepared him for transport.
"I did my part in checking him, I filed my paperwork, and we were ready to make the removal," Howard said. "We got him to the funeral home, and into the embalming room and noticed the kicking, and he began to breathe."
March said he got a call from Howard at around midnight.
"He had called 911 saying he needed the ambulance to come down to Porter Funeral Home," March said. "He said, 'They picked him up, assuming he was dead, and now he's alive.'"
Williams' nephew, Eddie Hester, said he watched the coroner put his uncle in the body bag and zip it up.
"At 2:30, my cousin called me and said, 'Not yet,' and I said, 'What you mean not yet?' He said, 'Daddy still here,'" Hester said.
Porter and Sons Funeral Home employees were getting ready to embalm Williams when they noticed he was moving inside the body bag.
Paramedics rushed Williams to a hospital, where family members said Thursday night that he's happy to be alive.
"I don't know how long he's going to be here, but I know he's back right now. That's all that matters," Hester told WAPT.
When he visited the man who escaped death on Thursday, Howard said, he was doing well.
"I went to visit him yesterday around 5:30 or 6 p.m., and he was talking a little bit and moving around," he said.
March said he knows Williams, and describes him as a "fine fellow."
"He's a very nice guy, laughing, joking, talking, carrying on," he said. "He's a really good person."
Howard said Williams has a defibrillator that may have kick-started his heart again.
"It's a miracle," Howard said. "It's a testimony and it's a blessing to his family. It definitely is. I hope he continues to live a long time."