Baker said when she finally realized the body did not belong to her daughter, her thoughts went to Jade Nicole Aubrey-Peterson and her parents. "I apologized to the poor girl lying on the table. I am so sorry her family doesn't know she is here. But I was so glad it was not my kid."
Mountain View Memorial Park in Lakewood, Wash., where the body was taken, offered condolences to both families.
"[A]s part of our routine protocol we confirm the identity of the deceased approximately three times between receiving the deceased and before burial or cremation," said Clarke Thomson, general manager. "Because of these protocols we were able to aid the family in identifying that the body delivered was not their daughter."
The medical examiner said in a prepared statement that his office was supporting both families and were, "reviewing the circumstances and will adjust our practices."
Clark said in the statement that "it is not uncommon" for accident victims to arrive at the hospital without identification. The office receives about 2,000 death notifications a year and has appropriate protocols to follow, he said.
"Those protocols include scientific methods, such as fingerprints, DNA and dental records, but those are not used unless necessary because they are time-consuming, expensive and create delays that are burdensome on families," Clark said. "In most cases, identification can be resolved by driver's licenses and family identification of distinctive features, such as tattoos.
Baker said she had last seen her daughter in October when they celebrated Baker's birthday. They had been estranged since her daughter was 16.
"She started running away and you can't keep someone in the house, so I let her go, hoping she would grow out it," said Baker. "She never did."
Kennedy's Facebook page says she lives in Takoma, Wash. Kennedy did not respond to requests for comment by ABCNews.com.
Baker said she will finally return to work after two days of agony. "I need to get back to normalcy after viewing that body," she said. "It's like I have almost cried, but haven't, because I am so relieved."
She said she hoped the frightening incident might bring them closer together and had reached out to Kennedy on Facebook. Baker has four other children, aged 7 to 20.
Since learning Kennedy was alive, Baker said she had tried to reach out, assuring her she did nothing wrong and that she was worried about her. "I just need to see her face," Baker said.