Amnesia Stole Benjaman Kyle’s Identity — 10 Years Later, DNA Testing Brought Him Back

Shelley Hazen - Author
By

Sep. 22 2015, Updated 5:33 a.m. ET

In 2004, a cleaning woman found a naked man near a Burger King dumpster in Georgia. He was unconscious and covered in fire-ant bites.

He had no identification, so paramedics assumed he was homeless and sent him to the hospital, where he woke up and recovered from his injuries, the Orlando Sentinel reported. When the man, who hospital staff called “B.K.” Doe (for Burger King), woke up, he had no idea who he was, how he arrived behind the dumpster, and had no memories.

He was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia.

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“It was like I was a ghost. Legally I didn’t exist.”

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But Benjaman rang a bell, so he adopted the name — Benjaman Kyle. He also knew his birthday, claiming he was exactly 10 years older than Michael Jackson. But with no documentation, no fingerprint records, and no one looking for him, Kyle remained a mystery for the next decade.

According to First Coast News, a Georgia news station tried to figure out Kyle’s identity with DNA testing, tracking his genes to a Powell lineage in the western Carolina mountains. No one stepped forward to claim him as family.

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“It’s pretty pathetic if no one’s actually looking for someone that disappeared. Isn’t there anyone important enough in your past life that would want to look for you?”

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But now, some detective work and more DNA testing has finally uncovered Kyle’s real identity and allowed him to get an ID card. He is waiting to meet his family in Indiana, and until then will keep his name under wraps.

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Kyle received tons of help in the quest to find himself. He’s been on Dr. Phil, CNN, and National Geographic, and told his story in a YouTube documentary called Finding Benjaman. And he enlisted the help of Orlando-based IDignity, which helps homeless and low-income people get government ID. Benjaman desperately needed one to do pretty much everything — get an apartment, a room in a homeless shelter, a job.

IDignity spent two years collecting the right documents so that Benjaman could prove he existed and get an ID. Then, a genetic genealogist figured out who he was using a method that helps adopted people find their birth families.

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So, he is Benjaman Kyle no longer. IDignity found his birth certificate, Social Security records, and other documents, and now he has a brand new Florida ID card — with his real name on it. His birth state is Indiana and now, the man once known as Benjaman plans to meet his real family, who may have assumed he was dead.

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“I now exist — and can prove it.”

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Just to be safe, however, Kyle plans to have his Social Security number tattooed on his rear end.

[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]

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