Imagine for a minute you’re Edgar Latulip.
For decades, you’ve lived in the Ontario, Canada city of St. Catherines, but under a different name. Then one day, flashes of memory from a different past and a different life start to emerge.
Then you remember a name, but it’s not the one you’ve lived under for 30 years. And yet, you know the name, and the memories, are real. A DNA test proves it: you’re a completely different person, with a family that has wondered where you’ve been since 1986.
This is what happened to Latulip last month, and the 50-year-old man is still “trying to grasp” his new identity, Niagara Regional Police Const. Philip Gavin told The Toronto Star.
“I’ve been a police officer for 18 years and this is something I’ve seen on TV but never been a part of. Absolutely, this is quite a rare one.”
Edgar’s story began at age 21, back in 1986 after a suicide attempt. His mother, Sylvia Wilson, last saw her son in a hospital in Kitchener, The Waterloo Record reported, recovering.
Latulip is developmentally delayed and has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, CBC added. His missing persons reported indicated mental health troubles as well. In September, 1986, he was staying in a group home, but wandered away without his medication and vanished.
Edgar’s disappearance became this region of Ontario’s oldest unsolved disappearance. Latulip’s mother always believed that after her son vanished, he had committed suicide or been murdered, she said in a 2014 interview.
“This is always at the back of my mind. Having an answer would mean closure. When Edgar disappeared, I became quite sick. I had to take a leave of absence from work. I was near a nervous breakdown.”
That day in 1986, Latulip got on a bus to Niagara Falls, without his luggage, and ended up in St. Catharines. After he arrived, he fell and hit his head and “when he kind of woke up, things were a lot different,” Gavin said. Edgar had no idea who he was and couldn’t remember where he’d come from.
So he assumed a different name and started a new life in a new city. It’s not clear what he’s been doing for the past 30 years.
Then one day in January, Edgar, now 50, began to remember. Gavin said “pieces of his memory started to come back.” So he contacted his social worker and told her his name was Edgar Latulip. She looked the name up on the Internet and found the missing persons case in the Waterloo area.
Latulip went to a police station in St. Catharines and talked a bit with police, recalling more about what he remembered and who he was. Edgar took a DNA sample and it connected him to a family member. The match was final confirmation that Latulip’s memories were correct.
Edgar will soon be reunited with his family, which police said would be a private affair. His mother has been contacted with the astonishing news.
“They are planning to reunite… I’m sure she’s very overwhelmed. She expressed her worry over all this time. So for it to come to this conclusion is remarkable,” said Waterloo Regional Police spokesperson Alana Holtom.
Gavin said police had never given up on Edgar, even though most missing persons cases don’t have happy endings. Until Wednesday, Latulip’s picture was still on the department’s website as a missing person. Gavin called his recovery after all these years a “good news story.”
“I try not to only think about his mother’s side, but also Mr. Latulip’s side where for 30 years (he’s) learned a certain way and someone … confirms to (him) that’s not who (he is). That’s a lot to take in, personally, right, so there’s interesting pieces for him as well.”
[Photo By Alex Pfeiffer / Shutterstock]