Woman found with rare form of amnesia discovers true identity

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A woman who became the focus of an international investigation after being found in Carlsbad with no memory of who she was, finally learned her real name Wednesday.  

The woman, who called herself "Sam" during her five-month bout of illness and memory loss, learned from the FBI that she's actually 54-year-old Ashley Menatta.

A nephew who saw the news station's online story about the woman's plight recognized her and informed his mother, leading to the reunion.

On Feb. 1, Menatta was diagnosed with a rare form of amnesia after she was found in poor health near Tamarack Beach. 

While removing a "volleyball sized'' tumor, physicians determined that she had malignant ovarian cancer, Menatta wrote on the social-media website, adding that her prognosis "is not good.''

Doctors said that antibodies associated with the cancer probably caused her memory failure.

Menatta, who speaks in an accent resembling those heard in England or Australia, suspected she might be from Australia. 

"All of my initial dreams (since being hospitalized) had to do with … swimming in a saltwater pool in Perth, then … in New South Wales and in Cairns in Queensland and Byron Bay,'' she related in her posting.

She said she "also had many dreams of Hawaii, living in a contemporary
home there.''

But since Menatta discovered she's actually from the United States, it's unclear where her foreign-sounding vocal patterns are coming from. 

Menatta, who has been released from hospital care and is staying at an assisted-living facility in Vista, plans to fly to Maryland and stay with one of her older sisters, she told the news station.

Categories: KUSI