February 11, 2016 - 10:30 AM
An Ontario man who disappeared three decades ago and was believed dead is about to be reunited with his family.
Niagara Regional Police say Edgar Latulip was reported missing in 1986 from Waterloo region.
Const. Phil Gavin says Latulip took a bus to the Niagara region, where he suffered a head injury that robbed him of much of his memory.
Gavin says Latulip went on to live in the area for the next 30 years, but recently began having memory flashes that made him believe he was living under the wrong name.
Latulip shared his concerns with a social worker, who Googled his name and discovered that he was the subject of a long-standing missing person's investigation.
Gavin says Latulip's identity has now been confirmed through a DNA test and police are preparing to help him make contact with his surviving relatives.
"I don't think anyone that I've spoken to has heard of a case like this other than a story made for TV," Gavin said.
According to a profile in the Waterloo Region Record, Latulip was living in a local group home at the time of his disappearance. The profile said he was developmentally delayed and functioned at the cognitive level of a child.
Latulip had made suicide attempts in the past, and family members feared he had travelled to Niagara Falls for another attempt when he vanished in 1986.
The mystery surrounding his disappearance took its toll on Latulip's mother, according to the newspaper profile.
"This is always at the back of my mind. Having an answer would mean closure," Silvia 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."
Gavin, who said he could not comment on Latulip's life prior to his disappearance, said he did in fact make it to the Falls before travelling to nearby St. Catharines.
Gavin said it's unknown how or when Latulip received his head injury, nor when his memory began to return.
The first evidence of those recollections came in January when Latulip revealed suspicions of his past identity to a local social worker.
A Google search turned up the newspaper profile, prompting her to reach out to police.
Gavin said the results of Latulip's DNA test came back on Monday, leaving the 50-year-old with much to process.
"He's got a lot to take in to remember his old identity," he said. "There's nerves. You haven't seen your family members in all these years and now a reunification process .I think it's a lot to take in."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016