After being listed as missing and presumed dead by family for thirty years, Edgar Latulip is finally going home.
Mr. Latulip went missing in 1986 from a group home in Kitchener, Ontario.
At first, Latulip headed for Niagara Falls by bus without his medication. This, and the fact that Niagara Falls was a popular suicide spot, led officials to believe that Latulip may have committed suicide.
In actuality, Latulip suffered a head injury and subsequently lost his memory. For thirty years, Latulip lived under a new identity in Saint Catharines, Ontario, just eighty miles from his hometown. He had no idea that he left behind a mother who loved him.
Now in his 50s, Latulip was just 21 when he left home. He had been deemed “developmentally delayed” and functioned at the level of a 12 year old child.
He began having flashbacks last month, in which he remembered his old name – Edgar Latulip. He told his social worker, who contacted authorities. A DNA test confirmed his suspicions and now, authorities are working to reunite him with his relatives.
As to how Latulip is reacting to the surprising discovery, a spokesman for the Niagara Regional Police Service, Phil Gavin, told the Associated Press that he is adjusting to the news slowly.
"You haven't seen your family members in all these years, and now a reunification process," he said. "I think it's a lot to take in."
In 2014, Latulip’s mother, Lydia Wilson, told a local newspaper that she was still concerned that her son could have been killed and buried somewhere.
“Having an answer would mean closure,” Ms. Wilson told The Record, “When Edgar disappeared, I became quite sick. I had to take a leave of absence from work. I was near a nervous breakdown.”
Investigators circulated missing persons posters of Latulip for years. Mock-up photos of an older Latulip showed a man with a big grin and wire glasses, according to The Washington Post.
In 1993, somebody reported seeing Latulip in Hamilton, but the lead came to nothing, and so the search continued for over two decades.
Authorities have said that they will not reveal details about Latulip’s new life. Nobody knows exactly how Latulip injured his head or how he began to remember. Whatever happened, his mother is overjoyed to know he is alive.
“After 30 years of not knowing where her son is,” said Mr. Gavin, “knowing that he’s alive, she’s pretty excited about that.”
Lydia Wilson now lives in Ottawa. She and Latulip are making plans to meet.
"I don't think anyone that I've spoken to has heard of a case like this,” Gavin told AP, “other than a story made for TV."
This report contains material from the Associated Press.