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Family in Canada recognizes woman suffering from amnesia after TV plea

June 25, 1997

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Hours after a woman suffering from amnesia made a televised public plea Tuesday for someone to tell her who she is, family members in Canada broke out in tears and hugs after recognizing her.

Susan Dawn Allan, of Fort Frances, Ontario, disappeared earlier this month in Minnesota. Family members said Tuesday night they identified her after watching a videotape of her at a news conference in Orlando.

``It’s her. Absolutely,″ Darryl Allan, her brother, told The Associated Press from his parents’ home in Fort Frances. ``We just finished having a group hug. There’s ... not a dry eye in the room.″

Police have been trying to identify Ms. Allan since she wandered into an Orlando hospital two weeks ago with a severe headache.

``I hope there is someone out there who knows who I am,″ the woman dubbed Jane Doe said at a news conference earlier Tuesday as tears welled up in her eyes.

KMSP-TV in Minneapolis reported that Tuesday was Ms. Allan’s 27th birthday.

Ms. Allan was last seen the morning of June 10 when she drove to International Falls, Minn. Her car was found a day later in the parking lot of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

KSTP-TV of Minneapolis called the Allan family Tuesday to say that the woman suffering amnesia in Orlando matched Ms. Allan’s description. After the TV station played the audio portion of her televised plea, relatives agreed that it sounded like her.

A videotape was rushed to them, and when they saw her face, they knew it was her. The FBI later confirmed her identity.

``I just knew it was her the moment she started to talk,″ Loretta Allan, mother of the missing woman told KSTP-TV.

There was nothing physically wrong with Jane Doe when she walked into Columbia Park Medical Center on June 12, Orlando Police Detective Barbara Bergin. She had no bruises and didn’t appear to have been hit in the head. Tests showed that she hadn’t been drinking or taking drugs.

She had rose tattoo on her back and was wearing a white cotton blouse, a black floral ankle-length skirt and earrings. She had a black cloth purse with $222 in it. She was clean and didn’t appear to have been living on the street. She was missing a pair of glasses and says she is very nearsighted.

An FBI database search of her fingerprints failed to find a match.

She spent much of the past two weeks trying to jar her memory by watching television and reading magazines and a novel. The detective said she read everything in sight.

``It’s really, really frustrating and I’m trying not to get depressed or upset,″ said Ms. Allan at the news conference.

Amnesia cases are rare, police said.

A woman in New Orleans went unidentified for six months in 1995 before she was found to be a 31-year-old medical secretary from Delaware.

Nonetheless, detectives are convinced that Ms. Allan isn’t feigning her memory loss.

``If she’s acting, she needs to get a job as an actress because she has us all believing she’s amnesiac,″ Ms. Bergin said.

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