Doctors appeal for help with mystery of American Navy vet who woke up without any memories of his life convinced he's Swedish (which is all he can speak)
Michael Boatwright was discovered unconscious in a Motel 6 room in February, but when he awoke could not remember anything about himself, recognize even his own reflection, nor how to speak English.
Even though his driver's license says he was born in Florida and served in the U.S. Navy from 1971 to 1973, Boatwright has no memory of his life to date and now answers only to Johan and converses in Swedish to doctors with the help of an interpreter.
Now, medical professionals in Palm Springs, California have appealed for help in solving the mystery of Boatwright, the only clues to his former life being a duffel bag, five tennis rackets, two cellphones, little cash, old photographs and his identification.
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Amnesia: Michael Boatwright awoke to find he had no memory of his past life to date, could not recognize his own reflection and believed he was Swedish
His current persona of Johan Ek, clashes with the Social Security card, passport and veteran's medical card he was carrying in February and following mental and physical health exams, Boatwright was diagnosed on March 13th with transient global amnesia.
Doctors at Desert Regional Medical Center have theorized that his total memory loss was triggered by some kind of emotional or physical trauma - what exactly that was though, they admit to drawing a blank on.
'He's kind of a blank slate,' said Lisa Hunt-Vasquez, the social worker assigned to track down relatives and help piece his life back together.
Searching on the Internet, Hunt-Vasquez has learned so far that Boatwright was a 3D graphic designer who taught English in Japan for 10 years and then in China for four.
Former Life; Michael Boatwright served in the U.S. Navy from 1971 to 1973 (left) and was carrying old photographs on him when he was discovered in a Palm Springs motel room in February
Baffling: Michael Boatwright is pictured here with two women - one who is believed to be his wife and a little boy thought to be his son
She has discovered on a testimonial on the website of a TPR English School in Zhuhai, China, that he left his teaching post one year before his catastrophic memory loss.
However, every attempt to discover a friend or relative has failed. An address on his U.S. passport for a Japanese woman believed to be his ex-wife was a dead end - as was all the telephone numbers listed on his cellphone.
Indeed, the Japanese, Chinese and Swedish consulates have turned up no next-of-kind information.
What is known is that Boatwright flew into Palm Springs from Hong Kong on February 24th - which was the last day valid on his Chinese visa.
Hunt-Vasquez said that she did not know why he had chosen to fly into California and even contacted local tennis clubs to see if he was scheduled to play - thinking his tennis rackets might be a clue.
Upon contacting Dade COunty Missing Persons Bureau in Florida, she found that Boatwright's parents were deceased and that his first wife divorced him in 1983 - she could not be contacted.
It was even thought at one point that Boatwright could have two sisters in Sweden, but again, that has not been confirmed.
No Recollection: This is one of the photographs which have failed to jog the memory of Michael Boatwright from his amnesia
For Boatwright, the sheer frustration and confusion of the whole ordeal is maddening.
'When I look at the photos, I see my ex-wife and my son ... my mother and grandmother, but I don't recognize them. I don't know them,' he said.
'Sometimes it makes me really sad and sometimes it just makes me furious about the whole situation.'
Indeed, to help Boatwright adjust to his new reality, Hunt-Vasquez has put him in contact with Palm Spring's local Swedish-American community at the Vasa Order of America's Desert Viking lodge in San Jacinto.
His friend there, Viola Wyler, told MyDesert.com that despite lucid conversations, Boatwright suffers from detachment from reality.
'All of the events that he talked about, he has never been involved in it; he always feels that he is looking in,' Wyler said to MyDesert.com
Relief: Michael Boatwright uses exercise as the only way to concentrate his mind and not think about his memory loss
Desert Regional Medical Center did all it could to identify relatives of Michael Boatwright - but now he has moved onto Gothenburg, Sweden
From their talks, Wyler surmises that he did indeed live in Sweden in the mid-1980s, but because he has no strong regional accent she thinks that he learned it late in life or has not used it much during his adult life.
Even the photographs that he carries do not trigger his memory in any way.
Despite the knowledge that he used to be a graphic designer and taught English as a second language, Boatwright has no memory of how to execute the skills he learned during his life.
And sadly now, Hunt-Vasquez is worried that he may not be able to stay in the hospital much longer because, despite his amnesia, he is healthy.
But, the hospital is also looking for other viable options - 'really try to avoid just him being in the streets.'
For Boatwright, though, his daily life is a living hell.
'Walk in my shoes for one day,' he said. 'You'll experience the nightmare of a lifetime.'
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