In this day and age, we leave breadcrumbs of information that can quickly identify us. Despite our efforts to lead private lives, we unconsciously share information directly related to us. But did you know there was an individual who remained anonymous for more than ten years in the 21st century?
Benjamin Kyle was an amnesiac discovered in 2004. He has no recollection of his past life nor any records of his being. His true identity was only discovered in 2015 after DNA testing.
Discovering Burger King Doe
In the early morning of August 31, 2004, Son Yo Auer, a Burger King employee in Richmond Hill, Georgia, stepped out to throw garbage at the back of the restaurant. She was shocked to see a naked man sprawled unconsciously by the dumpster. It was just around 5 am, but the man was sunburned and sweating. He had a hot red rash, and fire ants were crawling on him. Terrified, Auer called for the police, reporting that a vagrant was sleeping by the restaurant.
The police called for an ambulance which took the man to St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was tagged Burger King Doe. According to his physical examination, Doe appeared to be a healthy man in his mid-fifties. He had no signs of bodily injury except for the rash and cataracts that made him almost completely blind.
Despite being substantially normal and not presenting any signs of alcohol or drug abuse, doctors noted that there was something psychologically wrong with this man. Doe refused to eat, drink, or even open his eyes. But after a few days, he began eating and spoke to a nurse. Doe was dubbed BK by the hospital staff because he was found outside a Burger King restaurant.
Doe was then transferred to a psychological ward due to his mental condition. Despite him being an individual capable of reasoning, he could not remember anything about himself or his past. He only remembers that he had three brothers, that he suspects he is from Indianapolis, an old theater, a long road in a cornfield, and some streets in a city he believes to be Denver.
Doctors felt that Doe was only feigning amnesia, trying to escape something in his life. But they did notice that his memory for impersonal facts was intact. He knew who the president was and that the country had invaded Iraq.
In 2005, Doe was transferred to JC Lewis Primary Health Care Center, where he took on the name Benjaman Kyle, as he thinks his real first name was Benjaman. He took on the last name Kyle as a replacement and kept the initials BK. (Source: New Republic)
BK’s Years of Searching
Kyle demonstrated high functionality compared to the others in the center. Without any identification or any idea of who he was, he assumed a job as a staff in the shelter, where it was observed that he was diligent in completing his tasks. (Source: New Republic)
Kyle was noticed by one of the psychiatric nurses, Katherine Slater. And in 2007, Slater moved Kyle into her spare room and began helping him find his identity. The nurse reached out to Georgia senator Jack Kingston for help. Kingston then notified the FBI to assist and get a social security number for Kyle.
A local newspaper picked up Kyle’s unusual story and gained traction in the media. Kyle even appeared on a show of Dr. Phil, broadcasting his story nationwide. The show gained several theories on Kyle’s memories, but none helped him remember his identity.
Kyle received help from different individuals and organizations to find his real identity. His DNA was given to a leading genealogy specialist, and his fingerprints are cross-referenced in the FBI’s system, but to no luck. (Source: The Guardian)
Finding Kyle’s Family
Throughout many years, many people helped Kyle by sharing their DNA so that it could be compared to his and perhaps be the key to finding his family. And finally, in 2015, a team of people who helped sequence Kyle’s DNA and compared it to many DNA profiles finally found his potential match. (Source: ABC News)
Kyle reported on his Facebook page that through an elimination process, the team determined his ancestral bloodline and possible relatives. A DNA test was taken by one of the alleged relatives and confirmed that they were related.
CeCe Moore, the genealogist helping Kyle, found that his DNA matched a disabled veteran in Lafayette named Furman Powell. According to Powell, he had a brother named William Burgess Powell, who went missing in the seventies. (Source: JC Online)