These three people spent decades thinking they knew who they were. That was until their lives were suddenly turned upside down because of a flashback, an ancestry DNA test, and a google search. Years later, all three have been safely returned to their families who never gave up hope in the search for their loved one.
Edgar Latulip’s family spent decades thinking he had been murdered after he seemingly vanished into thin air. On September 2, 1986, Latulip left his home in Kitchener, Ontario, and boarded a bus headed ninety minutes away to Niagara Falls. He wouldn’t be seen again for thirty years.
Latulip was only twenty-one-years-old and suffering from depression and developmental delays when he went missing. Police reports say that although he was in his twenties, he had the mental capacity of a twelve-year-old.
After boarding the bus, Edgar disappeared. Some people assumed that he had committed suicide over the falls since he had made attempts in the past and boarded the bus without his medication or luggage.
Others weren’t so sure. Extensive searches were done but no evidence of Edgar’s presence was found, leaving his family wondering if Edgar had met foul play.
In 2016, a man living under a different name told his social worker that he thought he was Edgar Latulip. This man lost his memory in 1986 after a fall that resulted in a serious head injury. It left him with no memory of who he was or where he had come from. He was living in St. Catherine’s, at the time, which is 120 kilometers away from Latulip’s hometown of Kitchener.
By now, thirty years after the injury, bits of his memory began coming back to him through flashbacks. In one of these flashbacks, he was called Edgar Latulip.
His social worker googled the name and found that Latulip was a missing person. Immediately, the two went to the police and submitted a DNA test.
The results confirmed what the mystery man with no memory suspected; he was Edgar Latulip. After 30 years, he had finally been found.
Latulip’s family was quickly notified and had a private reunion. His mother, Lydia Wilson, never gave up hope in the search for her son. She said that she was overwhelmed but thrilled.
“After 30 years of not knowing where her son is, knowing that he’s alive, she’s pretty excited about that.” Said a spokesman for the Niagara Regional Police.
Jerry Barnett was a happy boy growing up. He lived with his mother, Anna-Mary Barnett, who worked hard to provide for him as she was a single mother and a teen parent. She would usually leave Jerry under the watchful eyes of relatives when she had to go to work. But, one day, her relatives were all busy, forcing her to leave five-year-old Jerry with a babysitter.
Unfortunately, Anna-Mary would go on to regret this choice for 55 years, because when she came home from work that day, Jerry and the babysitter had vanished.
The babysitter, who remains nameless in the media, kidnapped Jerry from his home in Kentucky to Delaware, where she abandoned him. Five-year-old Jerry became a ward of the state and was placed into foster care. He was given a new last name, Thomas, and a speculative birthdate.
Jerry’s mother, Anna-Mary, was desperate to find him. She contacted numerous agencies for help only to be turned away or disregarded. It’s believed that this was because Anna-Mary was a black teen mother in the south while the Civil Rights Movement was taking place.
In 2016, Jerry’s son, Damon Parker, took a DNA test and submitted the results to an online ancestry site.
Four years after taking the test, in 2020, Parker received a notification that the site had matched his DNA to a relative in Kentucky. This relative, Will Barnett, turned out to be Parker’s cousin. He told Parker of his father’s shocking past.
Soon after learning of his kidnapping, Jerry and his son drove down to Kentucky for a reunion with his family.
“I was scared to get out the car. There was a mob (of people). I thought somebody was going to kidnap me again,” Jerry Barnett joked about his large family reunion.
Jerry said that in previous years, he has struggled to be present for his children but that this long-awaited reunion has changed that.
Orey Steinmann was a normal 17-year-old boy when he and his friends decided to google their names during a high school computer class. But, what he found was no ordinary result.
The Canadian teen, who was living in California with his mother at the time, found a picture of himself as a three-year-old boy on the Missing Children Society of Canada’s website. Under his picture were reports that his mother, Gisele Goudreault, had taken him from Canada fourteen years earlier, in 1989, during a custody battle with his father.
Orey confided in a teacher, who contacted local authorities. They spoke with Canadian police and confirmed that Orey was the missing toddler.
When asked about the last time he had seen his son, Orey’s father, Rod Steinmann said, “The last thing he said was ‘I want my dad’ while [Goudreault] was holding him back. I didn’t know it was the last day I’d see him for 14 years.”
Steinmann had been granted full custody of Orey based on the fact that he had stronger family ties around the town of Red Deer, Alberta, where Orey, Steinmann, and Goudreault were living at the time of the kidnapping.
Goudreault took Orey during a scheduled weekend visit. She then moved him to Mexico before settling in California.
Relatives of Goudreault have defended her actions, saying, “They were taking her child and she did what she had to do.”
Nevertheless, Goudreault was arrested and held in jail for four months before being extradited to Canada where she served two months in prison for child abduction.