U.S. Navy vet gets amnesia and speaks Swedish

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 10:11am

A bizarre and puzzling medical mystery unfolding in California, an American man wakes up in a hotel room with no memory of who he is or where he comes from.

Even more strange, he is only speaking Swedish, Elizabeth Cohen has the story.

Four months ago, police found this Navy veteran unconscious in a Southern California Motel 6.

On him, a U.S. Passport and his veteran's ID, identifying him as Michael Boatwright, but when he woke up in the emergency room, he'd never heard of Michael Boatwright!

He said his name was Johan Ek and he spoke only Swedish, according to this interview with the Desert Sun newspaper.

He couldn't explain why he had five tennis racquets in his luggage or who the woman was in this photo found with him.

His whole past, a blank, "Walk in my shoes for one day and you'll experience the nightmare of a lifetime." he told the newspaper.

A hospital social worker helped Boatwright set up this Facebook page and she discovered he'd lived in Sweden in the 1980's and ran a consulting company.

He lived in China, too, teaching English.

On the school website was this photo and Boatwright's own essay, revealing he was married to a Japanese woman and had a 12 year-old son.

So why was he in Southern California?

He told CNN the clues suggest he's a tennis coach, he'd arrived during the tennis tournament season.

His diagnosis: Boatwright is in what's called a fugue state brought on by trauma.

"Stressful events, life changing events, family deaths, or loved ones death, recent travel or major accidents."

For now, Boatwright is at Desert Regional Medical Center

They'd like to send him home, as soon as they learn, where home is.


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