Man Only Speaks Swedish After Waking Up With Amnesia

11:01 AM, Jul 16, 2013   |    comments
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Victoria Pelham, The Desert Sun

PALM SPRINGS - When Michael Boatwright woke up in the emergency room at Desert Regional Medical Center, the nurses began asking him questions for which it became clear he had no answers. The gray-haired, soft-spoken man looked at his identity card and didn't recognize his own face. He answered only to Johan Ek.

He walked up to the sink, stared at the reflection of the 61-year-old man facing him in the mirror and said he was going to throw up.

Though his driver's license said he was born in Florida, he spoke only in Swedish and said he remembered nothing about his life before.

"The guy Michael - it wasn't me. I'm still Johan," he said through a translator in a recent hospital interview, twisting his water bottle around in his hands.

The man was found unconscious in a Motel 6 room on Palm Canyon Drive at noon on Feb. 28, said Lisa Hunt-Vasquez, the social worker assigned to track down next-of-kin information and help to piece Boatwright's story together.

He had with him a duffel bag of casual athletic clothes, a backpack, five tennis rackets, two cell phones, some cash, a set of old photos and four forms of identification: a passport, California identification card, veteran's medical card and a Social Security card. Each of them identified him as Michael Thomas Boatwright.

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