The Unidentified Man Who Maybe Should've Stayed That Way

BBC helps solve the mysterious, sad tale of Roger Curry
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2017 4:10 PM CST
Updated Feb 4, 2017 4:29 PM CST
The Unidentified Man Who Maybe Should've Stayed That Way
Stock image.   (Getty Images/TommL)

"Roger Curry" was all that the gentleman with the American accent said when asked his name, and he said it only once. Thus begins the strange story Darragh MacIntyre spins for the BBC, following the mysterious trail of a man found wandering a parking lot in England in late 2015. Hospital tests revealed he had dementia, which everyone knew would complicate matters, but little did they realize how tough it would prove to find out who he really was. While police checked missing-persons lists and contacted US and Canadian authorities, the man everyone called Roger was placed in a local nursing home, where he lived contentedly under the care of staff who adored him. The home's manager even confessed to MacIntyre it would be "devastating" if Roger was IDed, because "we've adopted him."

MacIntyre's story takes a sharp turn when, thanks to a Facebook post and an old high school yearbook photo, Roger was actually IDed as Earl Roger Curry. MacIntyre was able to track down that he was from the Los Angeles area and had a wife and two grown children. But that wasn't necessarily good news: MacIntyre's digging revealed a "volatile" relationship between Curry and his son, Kevin, and an especially disturbing discovery: It appeared Roger's wife and Kevin traveled with him to England the month he turned up there, and they went home without him. The case is now unfolding in US courts, writes MacIntyre. It has left him musing whether Roger, now in an LA nursing home, would've been better off left unidentified in England. Read more of MacIntyre's take on the tale, as well as his attempts to talk to Kevin, here. (A tourist's selfies helped solve his vanishing.)

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