Calif. man who woke up in motel with amnesia returns to Sweden

This June 28, 2013 photo shows Michael Boatwright, who refers to himself as Johan Ek, a 61-year-old Florida man who awoke with no memory of his past speaking only Swedish and no English, in Palm Springs, Calif. Police transported Boatwright to the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif. after he was found unconscious in a Motel 6 room in February. (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Jay Calderon) RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE OUT; NO SALES; NO FOREIGN AP

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.A man who was found unconscious in a California motel in February and awoke speaking only Swedish, with no memory of his past, has arrived in Sweden.

The Desert Sun reports U.S. Navy veteran Michael Boatwright, 61, was greeted by Ewa Espling, a Swedish woman he dated in the early 1980s.

Public records show Boatwright lived in Sweden on and off between 1981 and 2003.

Boatwright was discovered in a Motel 6 room in Palm Springs Feb. 28 before he was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

He referred to himself as Johan Ek, but authorities found four forms of ID that identified him as Michael Boatwright. Officials weren't sure what he was doing in Palm Springs, but thought he may have attended a local tennis tournament based on equipment found in his bag.

In March, doctors diagnosed him with transient global amnesia, a condition triggered by trauma that can last for months.

The rare mental disorder is characterized by memory loss, "sudden and unplanned travel," and possible adoption of a new identity.

The Mayo Clinic notes there may be a link between transient global amnesia and having a history of migraines. Other triggers could include sudden immersion in cold or hot water, strenuous physical activity, sexual intercourse, mild head trauma, and acute emotional distress provoked by bad news or overwork.

Boatwright had been unable to exchange money, use public transportation or seek housing on his own, according to a social worker assigned to his case. Medical officials had been unable to locate the man's next of kin as of July.

Shortly after his story made international headlines, the Desert Sun tracked down a sister, who lived in Louisiana, and an ex-girlfriend of Boatwright's, Espling, whom he had dated for about three years.

Comments