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A man forgets his name and where he came from

He had no memory of his life

He had no memory of his life

In May of 1992, a man named “Pierre” said he inexplicably found himself along a deserted stretch of California coastline.  Feeling weak, hungry, and terribly confused, Pierre spotted a telephone, his first chance to obtain help.  Only then, did it dawn on Pierre that he had no one to call:

“Then I realized I couldn’t phone anybody and that’s when I realized I didn’t know anybody, including me.  Those first few minutes, you’re literally nothing and you feel so empty.  It’s very lonely and painful to be empty.”

Alone and distraught, Pierre searched through his belongings.  Tucked into one of his shirts was a crumpled piece of paper.  It was a library card from the Boston Public Library.  Handwritten on the back was the name, “April, Pierre”:

“It… must be me.  It’s in my belongings, with my socks.  It’s with my shirt.  It’s with my things.”

Pierre claimed he was plagued by hazy memories of San Diego, California, 400 miles to the south.  With just $17 in his pocket, he set out hitchhiking.  Three days later, Pierre was wandering the streets of San Diego, searching for something that might tell him who he was.

“I was so sure this city would bring everything back and it did not.  I saw downtown and said nothing.  I looked at the buildings and they meant nothing.  And I walked the streets of the city for a long time.”

He woke up with nothing but a duffel bag

He woke up with nothing but a duffel bag

Pierre felt he was hovering on the brink of madness.  Finally, a sympathetic bus driver gave him a ride to the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter.  Dr. Julie Becker was a Counseling Program Manager at the shelter when Pierre walked in:

“We’ve had cases of people pretending they didn’t know who they were.  But Pierre was very unique, sometimes in the other cases the residents are after something. And that wasn’t Pierre’s case at all.  He didn’t ask for anything.  He didn’t even ask for help.”

After six months of physical and psychological examinations, doctors could find no cause for Pierre’s memory loss.  They did, however, theorize that Pierre was suffering from “trauma induced amnesia.”  While at St. Vincent’s, Pierre concentrated on reviving his lost memory.  Soon, fragments of his former self began to emerge.  Pierre apparently had considerable knowledge about physics, advanced math, and computers.  He even became convinced that he could fly an airplane.  Pierre also found that he had a talent for music and learned to play the guitar in just a few hours. 

Hoping to add detail to Pierre’s fragmented memories, unsolved Mysteries arranged for him to consult with a police sketch artist.  Two portraits were created of people who may have been significant in Pierre’s past.  The first was a man whom Pierre believed was his cousin Luke, nicknamed Curly.  The second drawing was a woman whom Pierre believed was once his employer.  Pierre thought her name might be Carol:

“If I try to remember something too hard, I get a beautiful headache that I wouldn’t want to inflict on my worst enemy… I just want to find out what the past is, if I can.”

Update:

On the night of our broadcast, the woman Pierre called Carol recognized him as a former employee.  She confirmed that his name is indeed Pierre April. Carol contacted Pierre and told him that he has two sisters and that his parents live in Lachine, Canada.  The following day, Pierre talked to his dad for the first time in more than five months:

“It was a very emotional moment.  And then I even had to tell him that I couldn’t even trust him a hundred percent, that I wanted a package with family pictures in it and with my birth certificate.”

When the package arrived, Pierre and his fiancée, a woman he met in San Diego, sat down with a friend to get a first look at Pierre’s long lost past:

“It is strange to be told who you are and what you did.  I am someone again.  And for quite a few months, I was nobody and nothing.”