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Thirty Years Later, Man Finally Remembers Who He Is

Edgar Latulip disappeared 30 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario. His mother thought he was dead. But he had been living nearby all along, under a different name, until the memory flashbacks began.
February 12, 2016, 4:30pm
Les photos utilisées par la police pour rechercher Edgar Latulip (via the Missing Persons Network)

Early last month, a 50-year-old man met with a social worker in a small Canadian city and told her he thought he was living under the wrong name.

He had been experiencing memory flashbacks that made him question his identity. His real name, he thought, was Edgar Latulip.

It turns out he was right. And now, the Ontario man whose disappearance had stumped investigators for 30 years, is preparing to reconnect with his mother, who thought he was dead.

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Latulip, 21 years old at the time of his disappearance in 1986, was last seen leaving a group home in Kitchener and waiting for a bus. A missing person report described him as developmentally delayed and suffering from mental health issues.

He travelled to the Niagara region and ended up in the city of St. Catharines, police said.

There, Latulip "fell, striking his head, which resulted in memory loss and loss of identity," Const. Phil Gavin of the Niagara Regional Police told VICE News. He then assumed a new name and lived under it in St. Catharines for the next 30 years.

But on January 7, he shared his suspicions with a social worker, who searched his name on Google and found a profile of Latulip in the Waterloo Region Record, written as part of a series on missing persons' cold cases. She contacted Niagara police, detectives interviewed Latulip, and the pieces started coming together.

Since then, Waterloo police have been able to match Latulip's DNA sample with that of a family member. Now, they're in the process of putting him back in touch with his mother, Sylvia Wilson, who lives in Ottawa.

Wilson had last seen Latulip recovering at a Kitchener hospital after he tried to commit suicide.

Wilson had given up hope that her son was still alive — police had speculated that Latulip had gone to Niagara Falls to commit suicide and that his body was just never found, according to the Record. A reported sighting in Hamilton in 1993 renewed hope and in 2014, police made another push to revive the cold case.

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"This is always at the back of my mind. Having an answer would mean closure," Wilson told the Record in 2014. "When Edgar disappeared, I became quite sick. I had to take a leave of absence from work. I was near a nervous breakdown."

It turns out Latulip has been living independently all this time, said Gavin, though he couldn't disclose any more details about what his family or employment situation has been over the past three decades.

News of his discovery was hailed by the Missing Children's Network, who happily took Latulip's poster off their website.

"Edgar's recovery is the reason why we never give up hope!" Pina Arcamone, director general of the organization, said.

Det. Const. Duane Gingerich, who was the investigator on the case, called the resolution "awesome."

"It's satisfying because most of these cases don't turn out this way," he told the Record. "You expect the worst when a person is missing for that period of time."

Follow Tamara Khandaker on Twitter: @anima_tk