updated 11/5/2007 10:24:20 PM ET 2007-11-06T03:24:20

Police said Friday they had begun an investigation after a woman oversaw the cremation of a body she believed was her son — who turned up alive the next day.

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Greater Manchester Police said the mixup began when the body of a man in his 30s was discovered in Manchester, northwest England, on Oct. 12. He was identified as Thomas Dennison, 39, by a care worker who knew him.

Officials contacted Dennison's mother, Gina Partington, 58, who identified the dead man as her son. The body was released to the family and the funeral took place Tuesday.

The next day, Dennison was discovered alive in Nottingham, 80 miles away.

Partington said the resemblance between the dead man and her son was remarkable.

"I held his hand and kissed his head. I stayed with him for about 40 minutes and would have sworn he was my son," she was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.

"We held his funeral on Tuesday this week at Southern Cemetery, and there were genuine tears, because Tommy is a lovely lad," she said.

Police said the incident has been turned over to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Police said they believed they knew the identity of the dead man, who had been living on the streets, and were trying to contact his relatives in Ireland.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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