Homeless Man Discovered to Be Lawyer With Amnesia

Feb. 17, 2006 — -- An upstanding lawyer and father of two suddenly goes missing. Six months later, he is found homeless in another city, suffering from severe amnesia.

It may sound like a story line straight out of "Days of Our Lives," but it actually happened to Raymond Power Jr.

Power's terrible misadventure began the morning of Aug. 1. He said goodbye to his wife and children before leaving his Westchester County home, north of New York City, and heading to his law office in nearby White Plains.

But he never came home that day. His devastated family had no idea where he was until this week, when he was found after his photo was shown on "America's Most Wanted."

He had been living as a homeless man in Chicago, staying at a shelter called the Pacific Gardens Mission. He could remember nothing of his former existence except a semblance of his name: Jay Tower. One of his homeless buddies in the shelter had been watching "America's Most Wanted" and recognized him.

"He was in good shape physically," said Phil Kwaitkowski, the vice president of ministries at the shelter. "But he was very disoriented and very confused because he didn't know his identity. At one point he broke down and began to cry on the shoulder of one of our security guards because he was so frustrated that he didn't know who he was."

Power's wife was able to talk to her husband by phone on Monday, but he was not able to remember her or their children.

There are clues as to what may have led the lawyer, who was also a churchgoer and Boy Scout leader, to suddenly forget his entire life. Doctors say some rare cases of amnesia can result from extreme stress and typically affect patients who have had post-traumatic stress disorder.

Power was haunted by the memories of the friends he lost while fighting in Vietnam. The psychological pain was dredged up after a narrow escape from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

His family says he often wondered why he chose to leave his office at 7 World Trade early on the morning of the attacks. He was walking between the twin towers minutes before they were attacked.

Power has overcome a lot of adversity in his life -- he was a police sergeant who found time to put himself through Fordham Law School. But reacquainting himself with a family and world he has no recollection of may be his most difficult challenge yet.

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