A woman with amnesia, who called herself “Sue,” was identified and reunited with her family on Wednesday evening. Although her identity was not confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, family and friends are certain she is 53-year-old Ashley Manetta.
On February 1, the mystery woman was discovered by firefighters in Carlsbad, California. She was immediately transported to the Tri City Medical Center — where she was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Doctors believe a malignant tumor may have contributed to her memory loss.
Authorities said the woman spoke with a strong Australian accent, and used common Australian terms. However, she did not remember her name or where she was from.
The woman with amnesia said she chose the name “Sue,” as she did remember having strong faith in God and Christianity. Throughout her ordeal, she said she “felt like someone was holding [her] and [she] realized it was God.”
As reported by NBC News, “Sue” had several “vivid and recurring dreams” about sailing, scuba diving, and swimming laps in a pool. She also remembered being in love, but she could not remember the man’s name.
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) July 2, 2015
On Tuesday, News 7 San Diego reporter Steven Luke posted information about the woman with amnesia on the station’s Facebook page.
The response was overwhelming. Within hours, the post was viewed by more than 21 million, and shared nearly 200,000 times.
As reported by NBC San Diego, the post led to thousands of tips about the mystery woman’s identity. As the story went viral, a family member contacted authorities and identified the woman with amnesia as Ashley Manetta.
— BBC Outside Source (@BBCOS) July 2, 2015
According to reports, Manetta was born in Pennsylvania. Although she later moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, she spent a lot of time traveling to Australia. Manetta’s family said they lost contact in 2013.
Although she lost her memory, Manetta built a life for herself in Southern California, where she joined the St. Patrick Catholic Church and made several friends.
Manetta said she was happy to learn she has two sisters, who live in Colorado and Maryland. Her family confirmed she never married and does not have any children.
Although she was somewhat overwhelmed, Manetta said she was happy to connect with her family and learn about the life she had forgotten.
“It was extremely emotional. We were all sobbing. They’re so sorry I had to go through what I did during this time without them.”
Manetta said she is considering moving to Maryland where her sister “has a four-bedroom, large house and a lovely king-size bed waiting… “
The story of the woman with amnesia went viral within hours. Although publicity is not always positive, authorities credit social media with helping them identify Ashley Manetta and reunite her with her family.
[Image via Shutterstock]