Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun
Michael Boatwright was found unconscious in a Palm Springs motel. When he awoke, he spoke in Swedish and remembered little to nothing of his past.
A mysterious Florida man who awoke in a California hotel room with no recollection of his past has a sister, it was revealed Tuesday— and she says she hasn't seen her brother in about 10 years and did not know if he was alive or dead.
Michael Boatwright, 61, was found unconscious in a Motel 6 room in Palm Springs, Cali. four months ago. When he regained conciousness, he called himself John Ek and, bizarrely, spoke only Swedish, The Desert Sun reported.
The newspaper was able to track down Michelle Brewer, Boatwright’s sister, in Louisiana. She said she and her family had no idea where her brother was and had no way to get in touch with him.
"He's always been just a wanderer. Then he'd come back when he needed some money or something from somebody. Then he'd take off again," Brewer told the Sun.
Authorities have struggled to piece together the story of the mystery man.
He was found in February with a duffel bag filled with exercise clothes, a backpack and tennis racquets, and four different forms of identification – all of which bore the name Michael Thomas Boatwright, according to hospital officials.
He may have been in town for a tennis tournament, authorities believe.
Doctors diagnosed Boatwright with Transient Global Amnesia in March. The condition can last for several months and is often triggered by trauma. It was unclear what, if any, trauma Boatwright may have experienced.
Friends told the Desert Sun that Boatwright was raised in Florida and first visited Sweden in 1981.
While there he fell in love with Ewa Espling, who told the newspaper that the two had planned to marry but that Boatwright was haunted by nightmares of what he saw during the Vietnam War.
Swedish reports say he left the country around 2003, but was remembered by those who knew him for his interest in medieval history and jousting.
Boatwright flew from Hong Kong to Palm Springs on Feb. 24, four days before he was found unconscious, according to The Desert Sun.
Along with forgetting his past, the newspaper noted that Boatwright does not remember how to do things like exchange money, use public transit or seek out shelter at homeless shelters or hotels.
He also does not remember his two ex-wives.
Complicating matters, Boatwright has no income or insurance. He can access only one bank account, which holds just $180.
"Sometimes it makes me really sad and sometimes it just makes me furious about the whole situation and the fact that I don't know anybody, I don't recognize anybody," Boatwright told the newspaper.
First published July 16 2013, 2:12 PM