Man Missing for 23 Years Is Reunited With His Family
Australian Gabriel Nagy Doesn't Even Remember Major Events Like Desert Storm and Princess Diana's Death
It's a very, very sad story with a surprisingly happy ending: Australian Gabriel Nagy was about to be officially declared dead after being MIA for 23 years, but a last-ditch search by a police detective led Nagy to a reunion with his family.
Nagy went missing on January 21, 1987, after calling his wife, Pamela, and telling her he was coming home for lunch.
He never made it home, though, and a day later, his car was found on the side of the road, completely burnt out.
Nagy had never left his family before, and a massive hunt for him ensued. More puzzling: two weeks after he went missing, he withdrew money from his bank account and bought camping supplies in a town not far from his home.
And then the trail went cold.
"It was just so traumatic for everyone," Nagy's daughter Jennifer said. "It really affected me emotionally ... It was too much, too painful. Nobody had any answers to explain the sudden disappearance of a dad who was a loving, caring father. I thought he was my world and all of a sudden it's taken away from me."
Pamela Nagy and the children eventually moved from their home in Sydney to another area in Australia, but she always made sure the family was listed in the phone book, in case Gabriel was looking for them.
But they also began to lose hope they'd ever be reunited as a family.
Then, after more than decades, and just two weeks before he was to be declared legally dead, police detective Georgia Robinson did a final search and found a Medicare record for a man named Gabriel Nagy.
Nagy, it turned out, had been living under another name, but had begun to have memories of his former life. One of his oldest memories was of being in the town where he had lived with his family, and bleeding from a head wound.
He has a head wound scar that is likely from the injury that caused his amnesia, which led to harsh, lonely years in which he couldn't remember anything and survived by performing odd jobs, sleeping on the streets and on the beach and drinking alcohol to cope with his painful life.
A local church pastor met him and offered him a job and home at the church, and also helped him get a Medicare card so he could get the eye surgery he needed.
And it was that Medicare card that led Robinson to Nagy, and, ultimately, Nagy back to his family.
Nagy and his family are sharing their story, via PerthNow.com, in the hopes that it will help give hope to other families whose loved one have gone missing.
"I want to give people hope that sometimes good things can happen … miracles can happen," Jennifer Nagy said. "If you have left home, for whatever reason, ring and let somebody know you are OK … The not knowing can really, really affect you in the end."