Benjaman Kyle

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Benjaman Kyle
Benjaman Kyle.jpg
Born 1945/1946 (age 68–69)
Residence Savannah, Georgia, U.S.

Benjaman Kyle is the pseudonym adopted by a man who has dissociative amnesia. He was discovered unconscious on August 31, 2004, in Richmond Hill, Georgia,[1][2] and is believed to be about 64 years old.[3] He had been unable to obtain employment without a Social Security number.[4] He is the only American citizen officially listed as missing despite his whereabouts being known.[5]


Kyle is white and appears to be in his 50s or 60s.[3] He is 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) tall and weighs 240 pounds (110 kg).[1] He has graying hair with a receding hairline, and blue-green eyes.[3]


Kyle has memories of Indianapolis as a child, including the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, the Woolworth's on the Circle, and the Indiana Theater showing movies in Cinerama. He remembers Crown Hill Cemetery (though not its name), the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and the White River when "it was mostly just a dumping ground". He also remembers grilled cheese sandwiches for a quarter and glasses of milk for a nickel at the Indiana State Fair.

More specific memories place him in Indianapolis between at least 1954 and 1963. The earlier date is based on his recognition of the Fountain Square Theater,[6] but not the Granada Theater [7] in the Fountain Square area of town. The Granada closed in the mid-1950s. The later date is based on his recollections of a 2% retail sales tax that was enacted by the State of Indiana in 1963,[8] and that the popular WLS Chicago radio station disc jockey Dick Biondi left the station that year over management issues.

Kyle also has memories of the area around the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has detailed memories of the subscription the library has to Restaurants & Institutions. He also remembers the Round the Corner Restaurant on the Hill, and the Flatirons and The Fox Theater near the Boulder campus.[9] This places Kyle in the Denver-Boulder area in the late 1970s to early 1980s.[10] In an interview with Channel 7 News in Denver, Kyle reported having memories of the controversy surrounding the construction of mass transit in Denver, at a time when the city still had no financing to proceed. Although the mass transit system in Denver went into operation in 1994, public debate over the construction of the system dates back to about 1980, consistent with the time period of the other memories that Kyle has about Denver and Boulder.[11]

More specific memories of Boulder place Kyle there between 1976 and 1983. The earlier date is based on his memory that he arrived during the construction of the Pearl Street Mall in the downtown area, and shortly after the Big Thompson Canyon flood [12] that occurred on July 31-August 1, 1976. The later date is based on the year that the King Soopers grocery store chain merged with Kroger.

During an October 16, 2008 interview on the television show of Dr. Phil McGraw, he recollected some minor memories he has, such as having brothers, being 10 years older than Michael Jackson (giving him a possible birth date of August 29, 1948), being around restaurant equipment, and that he attended a Catholic School.[13] Through hypnosis, he has recalled a partial Social Security number 3X5-44-XXXX, consistent with numbers assigned in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana during the 1960s.

Benjaman Kyle has an unusually detailed knowledge of restaurant operation and food preparation equipment, leading to the belief that he may have once worked in these industries.

Search for identity[edit]

There have been major efforts to identify Kyle, but as of March 2014, none of them has been completely successful. These efforts have included:

As of July 2009, a search was being made by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Kyle's Vietnam draft registration, based on his birthdate and his physical characteristics. When the draft was first implemented on December 1, 1969, Kyle's possible birth date of August 29, 1948 would have given him a priority number of 61.[27] Because the highest draft number used that year was 195, were that his birthday, he would have been very likely called, though interviews with military investigators indicate that he almost certainly had never served. A search through lists of men who had draft exemptions is now underway.

Newspaper articles were published in the Boulder Daily Camera on July 5, 2009, and in the Denver Post on July 7, 2009.[10] Based on Kyle's memories of the University of Colorado at Boulder campus, it was hoped that someone would respond to the articles to identify him. As of September 2010, this has not happened.

Kyle has taken several DNA tests that offer clues to his origins. A genetic genealogy DNA test by Family Tree DNA produced a distant match with members of the Powell DNA Study.[28] Based on these results, in March 2010 an almost perfect DNA match was discovered in the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation database with a Davidson of Scottish ancestry, a grandson of Robert Holden Davidson (b. 1885 Logan, Utah, d. 1946 Chico, California). This Davidson's results are very different from other Davidsons who have been tested by the Davidson/Davison/Davisson Research DNA Study Project.[29] The fact that Kyle has several weak matches to Powells, with a single strong match to a Davidson, indicates a possible non-paternity event in the male line of his family — that is, an adoption, a name change, or an illegitimacy. It is surmised that his legal name might be Davidson, but that in past generations, the family name was originally Powell. A comparison of the whereabouts of the Powell and Davidson families revealed that members of both families were living in close proximity in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s.[30]

A geographical comparison between Kyle's Y-DNA results and the YHRD Y Users Group database shows a somewhat close match in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma, but the US coverage in this database is sparse and only includes Y-DNA haplotypes. A more comprehensive autosomal DNA test by 23andMe relating to mixed-gender family lines reveals a large number of matches with ancestry in the western Carolinas, eastern Tennessee, northern Alabama, and northern Georgia.[31]

A major challenge exists in discovering who Kyle is because most records are keyed on an individual's name and Social Security number, which in Kyle's case are unknown. Many records are kept in hard copy format, making searching difficult. Many others that could be searched electronically on his birthdate are protected by privacy laws. The hope of identifying him rests on finding a DNA match, or on attracting the attention of someone who recognizes him by his photograph.

Forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick compiled a family tree for Kyle, and based on DNA tests has identified a set of second cousins from the Western Carolinas who are collaborating with her to help determine Benjaman's identity.[32]

In March 2011, Benjaman was the subject of a student documentary from Florida State University's Film School by filmmaker John Wikstrom. The film, entitled "Finding Benjaman" was in part a description about Benjaman's curious circumstances, and in part an appeal to action for local media groups and politicians. Through the outreach involved with the film, Kent Justice of News4Jax ran a series on Benjaman with the help of Florida Senator Mike Weinstein. Through Weinstein, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Benjaman was able to obtain a Legacy Identification Card to supplement the identity card he received when he was in Georgia. No new leads were developed by the story.

The news series also got the attention of a local business owner, who offered him a job washing dishes. Benjaman still works that job today, sleeping no longer in the woods, but in an air-conditioned shed through the good will of someone else who saw the story.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "A 'real live nobody'". 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  2. ^ Matteucci, Megan (2007-09-25). "Man with no memory tries to start new life". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Case File 1007UMGA". The Doe Network. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  4. ^ "Man With Amnesia Starts New Life". 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2010-06-30. [dead link]
  5. ^ Neil Forsyth (2010-07-10). "Do you know this man? | Life and style". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  6. ^ "Fountain Square Theater Building". 
  7. ^ "Fountain Square Business District". 
  8. ^ "History and Economic Impact of Sales Tax". 
  9. ^ "Tips roll in for amnesia victim; no ID yet". June 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c "Amnesia Victim Has Ties to Boulder". June 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Amnesia Victim has ties to Denver, CU". Retrieved 2010-06-30. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Big Thompson Canyon July 31- Aug. 1, 1976". 
  13. ^ "Dr. Phil Show". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  14. ^ a b "Know This Man? Can You Tell Him Who He Is?". Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  15. ^ Kanani, Bazi (July 7, 2009). "Ga. man with amnesia might have CU connection". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  16. ^ "Man with amnesia searches for clues". June 2010. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Is she the world's greatest DNA detective?". 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  18. ^ "Can she find a name for naked, beaten amnesiac?". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  19. ^ "Amnesia victim hopes evidence that links him to Idaho could help uncover his identity". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  20. ^ "Central Point Roots for the Mystery Man?". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  21. ^ Forsyth, Neil (July 10, 2010). "Do you know this man?". London: Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  22. ^ "Benjaman Kyle Asks: Who Am I?". Retrieved 2011-03-04. 
  23. ^ "Ga. man with amnesia remembers time spent at CU". 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  24. ^ "Outlook - Extraordinary personal stories from around the world". Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  25. ^ "Meet Benjaman Kyle: The Man With No Identity". Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  26. ^ "Benjaman Kyle – Indianapolis Birth Announcements, 30 Aug 1948". 
  27. ^ "Results from Lottery Drawing - Vietnam Era 1970". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  28. ^ "Powell Surname DNA Project by Jim Barrett". Retrieved 2010-09-07. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Davidson/Davison/Davisson Research DNA Study Project". Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  30. ^ "Benjaman’s Powell and Davidson Matches". 
  31. ^ "Benjaman’s 23 and Me Matches". 
  32. ^ "Benjaman Kyle THE MAN WITHOUT AN IDENTITY". Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  33. ^ Justice, Kent (2011-09-17). "Man Lives Six Years without Knowing Who he is". News4Jax. Retrieved 2011-09-17. [dead link]

External links[edit]