A Kitchener, Ont. man who has been missing for almost thirty years and was believed to be dead has been found after he realized his name on Wednesday.
The missing person’s case, which started on Sept. 2, 1986, has been solved after Edgar Latulip started to recall details from his past.
“I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have thirty years believing you were never going to see your son again and then all of a sudden you are told he is alive,” said Niagara Regional Police Const. Phil Gavin.
“That is a pretty exciting piece.”
Latulip was last seen leaving a group home in Kitchener and waiting at the Voyageur Bus Station when he was 21 years old.
Gavin says Latulip took a bus to the Niagara region, where he later suffered a head injury that robbed him of much of his memory and “limited memory of his past, including his identity.”
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.
The investigation unit with the Niagara Regional Police had the opportunity to sit down with Latulip and Gavin said “he was interviewed and further pieces came through.”
“They worked with the Waterloo Regional Police and had a good grasp we were moving down the right road in terms of his indentity,” he said.
Gavin said that there were pieces from the original missing person’s investigation that matched with physical pieces Latulip had today “but the final piece to the puzzle that 100 per cent confirmed it was the DNA match,” he said .
Gavin says Latulip’s identity has now been confirmed through a DNA test with a family member and police are preparing to help him make contact with his surviving relatives.
“My understanding is she is pretty excited,” said Gavin.
“I have been a police officer for 18 years and this is something I have never heard of before,” Gavin said. “I have heard of it on TV or a movie of the week but for me I would call this very rare.”
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.”
A Google search turned up the newspaper profile, prompting her to reach out to police.
Gavin said that the Latulip and his mother will work out the details of meeting each other in the future.
“We’ve made some connections and in terms of how that happens, he is an adult and his mother is an adult … it’s going to be worked out in the future,” he 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.”
“Thirty years is such a long time… a lifetime.”