Missing North Carolina Man Loses Memory, Uses Clues to Find Home


At the station, authorities were able to use the initials in Armstrong's wedding band and his inkling that he was from New Hampshire or New York to discover his identity. They found him in a missing person's database online and authorities in New Hampshire were able to send them a photo that they matched to Armstrong.

"It was a perfect match," Armstrong said through tears.

"This guy really seemed to be genuine and it all checked out and we have absolutely nothing to say that he's not being completely honest with his story," McDowell County Chief Deputy Sheriff Sam Arrowood told ABCNews.com. "This is kind of that one-in-a-million story."

Hundreds of miles away, Armstrong's wife, Ellen, got the call she had been waiting for at 3:30 a.m.

"When they told me that they had my husband and had compared his pictures, I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I can't believe it,'" Ellen Armstrong told ABCNews.com, growing emotional as she recalled the moment. "I talked to my husband. It was him. He knew my name and my middle name."

She said she asked him questions about things that only he would know and he answered correctly. She picked up her daughter in Raleigh, N.C., and they went to pick Armstrong up.

"He said, 'I recognize that vehicle,'" Deputy Brian Walker said, describing Armstrong's reaction to his wife's arrival. "As soon as his wife stepped out of the vehicle, he literally jumped up out of the chair and said, 'That's my wife.'"

"We got the biggest bear hug coming through the door," Ellen Armstrong said.

An initial checkup and CAT scan showed that Hugh Armstrong was fine, aside from a bump on his head, scratches on his legs and blisters on his feet. He has been suffering from headaches and has been more emotional than usual, but Ellen Armstrong said doctors told them these were the symptoms of a mild concussion.

Armstrong is scheduled to visit the doctor again today.

"He was lost without his family," Ellen Armstrong said. "He didn't know who he was. It's the worst feeling in the world. He just had to sit there and hopefully somebody would recognize him. [But] we knew if anybody could find his way out of the woods, it would be him."

Now, the family is relishing their time together and beginning to heal.

"We had a quiet pizza party and we're just trying to put our lives back together where they should be," Ellen Armstrong said. "It's a wonderful miracle and a wonderful happy ending."

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