This woman was found on a street corner in Carlsbad, California, by firefighters in February. She was disheveled and confused, and said she had no idea who she was. She thought her name might be "Sam."
She was taken to a local hospital where she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Doctors told her that antibodies from the tumor may have caused the amnesia. Friends at the hospital set up this Facebook page.
"Sam" believed she might be Australian due to a possible slight accent. She was added to an Australian missing persons directory. She was also added to Interpol's missing persons database.
Her amazing story was picked up by Steven Luke, a reporter for NBC 7 in San Diego, who posted her photos on his Facebook. They were shared more than 200,000 times. NBC 7 ran a story about "Sam", and that's when her nephew recognized her.
Turns out "Sam" is actually Ashley Manetta, 53, Pennsylvania-born, who had been living in Southern California for the last couple years. She never married but has sisters in Colorado and Maryland.
The tip from Manetta's nephew made its way to the FBI, which helped facilitate a reunion. “It was extremely emotional. We were all sobbing. They’re so sorry I had to go through what I did during this time without them,” Manetta told NBC.
As for Australia? Apparently, Manetta has a long history of visiting. Her family said they lost track of where she might be living in 2013 when she moved to Southern California.
Manetta is still undergoing chemotherapy, but she believes that knowing who she is and being reunited with her family will help. She told reporters that she "knows where she is going.”
Ryan Broderick is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ryan Broderick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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