[Hpn] A Boston amnesic identified as a local NC man

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 15 Feb 2005 07:26:43 -0500


www.news-record.com/news/amnesia021405.htm

Mass. amnesia victim identified as local man
2-14-05
By Elyse Ashburn Staff Writer

News & Record

GREENSBORO,NC

She called him Tee. The woman who found him, dazed but alive, in a dirty
Boston snowbank last month.
More than 750 miles away in Greensboro, Maliki Hamani calls him brother.
Omar Hamani had been missing nearly a month from his Greensboro home — at
least until a phone call Saturday sent his brother rushing to the
television.
An uncle had seen Omar Hamani — he was pretty sure it was Omar — on the news
in Cincinnati. A head injury had left Hamani unable to remember who he was
or how he had gotten to Boston.
The uncle told Maliki Hamani to turn on Fox News to see for himself.
And so, with the press of a button, Tee got his identity back.
Maliki Hamani hopes to be reunited with his brother in Greensboro today
after the monthlong ordeal that was meant to be a two-day road trip to
Washington, D.C.
“He said he just wants to come home,” Maliki Hamani, 33, said at his Mercury
Drive home Sunday.
Appearing on television in the Boston area, Omar Hamani, 22, said: “I feel
pretty great. I’m happy. Finally, I will get back home.”
Omar Hamani doesn’t remember much of anything — the trip, his time in
Greensboro, his brother. But Maliki Hamani said the story goes something
like this:
Omar Hamani left Greensboro in mid-January with three male friends. His
brother isn’t sure exactly whom.
“He said he was going to D.C.,” Maliki Hamani said. “Before he left, he told
me he was going for two days.”
But he somehow ended up in Boston.
When Maliki Hamani didn’t hear from his brother after several days, he
called some friends in Washington.
The reply: Omar is in Greensboro.
About that time, a man was found in a dirty snowbank on a street corner in
the Mattapan district of Boston. The man told police that the last thing he
remembered was being thrown out of a car by three people. He was
hospitalized Jan. 12 with a head injury.
Boston police searched missing persons reports and tried to identify his
fingerprints. Detectives even drove him around the area where he was found.
Local news reports showed his picture and told his story.
None brought the man an identity.
When the hospital discharged him Feb. 7, just about everything remained a
haze.
He went briefly to a homeless shelter but later called a patient he
befriended in the hospital. Could she help?
That woman called her sister, Stacy Maceachern, who invited the man to stay
with her until his memory returned or his loved ones found him.
Days later, Maliki Hamani saw his brother on the national newscast and
called police.
“He looked good,” said Maliki Hamani’s wife, Delores. “He looked the same.”
The brothers talked on the telephone twice Sunday.
“I talked to him, and he has no recollection,” Maliki Hamani said. “That’s
just sad.”
Omar Hamani was a professional basketball player in his West African home
country of Niger.
He has been living with his brother in Greensboro for nearly two years.
Doctors aren’t sure when — or if — he’ll recover from the trauma-induced
amnesia, Maliki Hamani said.
Maceachern is paying for Omar Hamani’s flight home, Maliki Hamani said.
Reached Sunday evening at her home, Maceachern said booking a flight has
been difficult because Omar Hamani doesn’t have any identification with him.
She said she was too busy to talk more but that she’s committed to getting
the man home.
The Hamanis’ concern now is how to pay for treatment of the amnesia. Maliki
Hamani was recently laid off, and his brother didn’t have a job, so the
family has no medical insurance. Hamani said he will see what aid he can get
from government or community groups in the Greensboro area.

Staff writer Michael Grossman and The Associated Press contributed to this
report.

Contact Elyse Ashburn at 373-7090 or eashburn@news-record.com

© News & Record 2005