For 30 years, Edgar Latulip didn't remember his own name or realise he was living 130km from home, where there were competing theories about how and where he had most likely died.
No one had seen him since September 1986 when, according to local news accounts, Latulip disappeared from a Canadian group home, jumped on a bus bound for the south side of Lake Ontario and forgot almost everything.
He assumed a new identity.
He settled in a new city.
He built a new life.
But a recent recollection has led Latulip back to the world he left behind.
Police this week announced that Latulip, 50, had been found in St. Catharines, Ontario, not far from where he had vanished decades earlier.
And - most shockingly - it was Latulip himself who solved his own cold case.
Authorities had once said Latulip was "developmentally delayed" and had "mental health challenges". His mother had said her adult son - who was 21 when he disappeared - functioned at the level of a child.
The last time his mother saw him, Latulip was in the hospital, recovering from a suicide attempt, according to the Waterloo Region Record.
Latulip abandoned the group home in Kitchener and, police say, headed for Niagara Falls - "a common suicide site," the Region Record noted. In an especially troubling sign, he had left the residence without his medication.
Soon after, police say, Latulip suffered a head injury and lost his memory.
But police said he started having flashbacks last month and remembered his real name: Edgar Latulip.
He told a social worker, who discovered that he was a missing person and contacted local authorities.
After a voluntary DNA exam, police were able to confirm his identity.
The Missing Children's Network called it "incredible news".
"Edgar's recovery is the reason why we never give up hope," said Pina Arcamone, the organisation's director general.
Phil Gavin, spokesman for Niagara Regional Police Service, said Latulip is now preparing to reunite with his family.
"It's a pretty huge thing to find out you're someone else," Gavin told the Washington Post, "so I think he's taking it slow."
In 1986, Latulip was a 21-year-old man with a 12-year-old's mind, according to local news reports and missing persons listings from that time. He was staying in a group home near Kitchener and living at least partly on a disability pension, according to a 2014 series in the Waterloo Region Record.
It was a Tuesday that September when he skipped town.
His mother, identified by local news media as either Silvia or Sylvia Wilson, told the Region Record that she feared her son had been killed and buried.
"This is always at the back of my mind," Wilson told the newspaper in 2014. "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."
Latulip's missing persons poster showed a young man with wire-frame glasses and a toothy grin - a computerised image to show people what he might look like. It said he had a thin build, a scar above one eyebrow and troubling mental issues.
For years, investigators tried to find Latulip, pushing paper and going door to door - and, later on, re-publicising his cold case, along with several others, in hopes of solving the decades-long mysteries.
Sgt. Richard Dorling, a homicide detective with Waterloo Regional Police, which oversaw the initial investigation in Latulip's disappearance, began encouraging local media and members of the community to spread the word.
"Pass the information on," Dorling told the Region Record in 2014. "If you see a poster, a picture or an article, post it on Facebook, send it out on Twitter. I'm hoping somewhere out there, someone will remember something."
In fact, it was Latulip who would remember - and crack his own cold case.
Authorities followed a lead in 1993 to nearby Hamilton after someone reported seeing Latulip there, but they never found him, according to the Waterloo Region Record.
At some point, he settled in St. Catharines.
Police would not comment this week on Latulip's life before his disappearance or the accident that caused him to forget it. It's also unclear what kind of life he built for himself after vanishing - whether he had a job, a home or a family. Authorities would not reveal his assumed name or names, either.
But they did acknowledge that Latulip recently started working with the Niagara Regional Police Service to find out his true identity. Gavin, the police spokesman, said investigators took a DNA sample from Latulip and contacted Waterloo Regional Police Service, which helped them compare it to a sample taken from a family member.
Last week, authorities learned it was a match.
Duane Gingerich, a Waterloo Regional Police detective on the case, said he was elated.
"I had hopes that he was out there somewhere," he told the Waterloo Region Record. "For us as investigators, this is great, this is awesome. It's satisfying because most of these cases don't turn out this way.
"You expect the worst when a person is missing for that period of time."
Then, police phoned Latulip's mother, who now lives in Ottawa.
"She was excited, happy, overjoyed," Gavin, the Niagara Regional Police spokesman, told the Post. "After 30 years of not knowing where her son is - knowing that he's alive, she's pretty excited about that."
Alana Holtom, a Waterloo Regional Police Service spokeswoman, told the Post that she had spoken with Latulip's mother on Wednesday and learned that the mother and son were working on a plan to reunite.
"She said that obviously this has been a worry to her for a long time," Holtom said.