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Mystery Solved: Woman with Amnesia Identified by Sister
NBC San Diego ^ | Steven Luke

Posted on 07/01/2015 3:35:09 PM PDT by nickcarraway

The woman who called herself "Sam" for months now knows her real name

Nearly five months after showing up in a San Diego-area emergency room without any recollection of her name, age, family, or friends, a woman who calls herself “Sam” finally has an identity.

Ashley Menatta, 53, never married and has sisters in Colorado and Maryland. She was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Flagstaff, Arizona and several years ago found her way to Southern California living in La Jolla, Vista, and Carlsbad.

The woman’s plight captured world wide attention after our NBC 7 post went viral with a Facebook reach of 21.2 million people as of Wednesday afternoon. Facebook users shared the post nearly 200,000 times leading to thousands of tips and suggestions.

Menatta’s nephew watched the NBC 7 story online and immediately called his mom to tell her about the mystery woman: Aunt Ashley. The FBI took the tip to Ashley and her friend Debbie Rough, a former nurse from Tri City Medical Center in Oceanside who championed the initial search for relatives. The phone call led to tears and details of her forgotten past.

“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,” said Menatta.

Carlsbad firefighters responded to an emergency call on February 1st and found Ashley Menatta in dire shape. Her blood pressure so low, she was barely conscious. She couldn’t tell paramedics anything about herself.

Doctors at Tri City Medical Center diagnosed the mystery woman with ovarian cancer, telling her the antibodies from the tumor possibly caused “retrograde amnesia."

Carlsbad police and the FBI got involved in an effort to help identify the mystery woman. They say more pressing responsibilities kept them from devoting the many hours needed to solve the case.

Searches of their finger print data base turned up empty.

“He (FBI agent) said you must be a good girl otherwise we’d have records of you,” said Menatta.

FBI agents posted Menatta’s picture and story to the Interpol website in an effort to attract global attention.

She spoke with an English/Australian accent and had vivid dreams about time spent in Perth.

Apparently I have a long time of visiting Australia for extended trips. I’ve been going there throughout my life” said Menatta. The family lost track of her in 2013 around the same time she showed up in Southern California and attended St. Patrick Catholic Church in Carlsbad.

The FBI says NBC 7’s Facebook post and subsequent stories generated numerous tips which helped put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Menatta plans to fly back to Maryland and live with one of her older sisters.

“She was just telling me she has a 4 bedroom large house and a lovely king size bed waiting for me.”

She thanks the millions of people around the world who watched her story and prayed and tried to help with leads and suggestions. The story seems almost too remarkable to be true.

Did Ashley Menatta really forget everything when she showed up in the hospital back in February? We may never know for sure. The FBI can’t confirm or deny the circumstances, but feels comfortable with the information they’ve provided to help facilitate a reunion.

Menatta’s close friends and the nurse who championed her story call her a genuine and sweet human being.

They believe she has the genuine faith in God which was the first thing she remembers feeling in the emergency room.

“I had peace where there should be none and I believed He would bring me back together with people that that were family and I trusted Him," she said.

Ashley Menatta will need to continue with chemotherapy to treat the aggressive cancer, but with family and faith she says “she knows where she is going” and now, finally, where she came from too.

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Local News
KEYWORDS: arizona; ashleymenatta; australia; california; carlsbad; colorado; flagstaff; lajolla; maryland; pennsylvania; perth; sandiego; vista

1 posted on 07/01/2015 3:35:09 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Seriously crazy eyes in the right picture!

2 posted on 07/01/2015 3:39:05 PM PDT by 5thGenTexan
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To: nickcarraway

My Sister Sam!

3 posted on 07/01/2015 3:44:02 PM PDT by PghBaldy (12/14 - 930am -rampage begins... 12/15 - 1030am - Obama's advance team scouts photo-op locations.)
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To: nickcarraway
Ashley Menatta, 53, never married...

The fact that she was never married is the second piece of information attached to her name.

But it's not sexism when NBC does it.

4 posted on 07/01/2015 3:44:31 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Vote GOP: A Slower Handbasket)
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To: nickcarraway
Don't know why I immediately thought of this.

5 posted on 07/01/2015 3:48:00 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: nickcarraway

Long term amnesia is incredibly rare. Typically amnesia is partial and just lasts a few days. Lots of cases of fake amnesia, though.

6 posted on 07/01/2015 3:55:04 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("Don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative." -Obama, 09-24-11)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

I have Amnesia every year when our wedding Anniversery and my wives Birthday comes around, its happened every year for 35 years but my wife forgives me every year [ I always make it up to her].

7 posted on 07/01/2015 4:07:12 PM PDT by ABN 505
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

I was in a car crash that killed my mother at age 6. I never got that memory back. I am 54 this Oct.

8 posted on 07/01/2015 4:51:42 PM PDT by packrat35 (Pelosi is only on loan to the world from Satan. Hopefully he will soon want his baby killer back)
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To: PghBaldy

I LOVED that show....and then that MURDERER had to kill that cutie pie sister.

9 posted on 07/01/2015 5:27:19 PM PDT by Ann Archy (ABORTION....... The HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: packrat35

That is traumatic partial amnesia, which happens a lot and is normal. It is far different from identity amnesia so often portrayed on TV and in the movies.

10 posted on 07/02/2015 6:01:31 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("Don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative." -Obama, 09-24-11)
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