DENVER – A man with amnesia who had been searching for his identity for more than a month was finally recognized by family and friends in Washington state when he appeared on a television news report asking for help.
Denver police confirmed Sunday that the 40-year-old man is Jeff Ingram of Olympia, Wash.
He had left his home Sept. 6 to visit his mother in Slave Lake, Alberta, but never made a scheduled stop that evening at his fiancee's mother's house in Bellingham, Wash., according to the Thurston County, Wash., sheriff's office.
Ingram said he found himself in Denver on Sept. 10 and walked around for six hours asking people for help. He ended up at a hospital where police spokeswoman Virginia Quinones said Ingram was diagnosed with dissociative fugue, a type of amnesia. He still has no memory, police said.
During the weekend, Ingram appeared on several news shows pleading: "If anybody recognizes me, knows who I am, please let somebody know."
Ingram's fiancee, Penny Hansen of Olympia, a state transportation and policy analyst, told KCNC-TV in Denver that his family and friends were relieved to learn he was alive and in good condition.
"Thank God he's safe. That's all I care about is his safety," Hansen said.
Ingram's car has not been found, and authorities do not know how he got to Denver, Thurston County sheriff's Capt. Jim Chamberlain said.
Ingram had experienced an episode of amnesia in 1995 when he disappeared during a trip to a grocery store. Nine months later, he was found in a Seattle hospital, according to Thurston County officials.
Hansen said stress and anxiety causes the amnesia.
"He was going through a really stressful time before he left here," she said.
People with dissociative fugue typically appear fine but have temporarily lost their sense of identity, are confused and impulsively wander away from home, according to a description from The Cleveland Clinic. It is rare and typically linked to severe stress.