"I've never been involved in a case where someone after thirty years comes back. It's quite odd," Const. Philip Gavin of the Niagara Regional Police tells PEOPLE

By Caitlin Keating
Updated February 12, 2016 10:30 AM
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

brightcove.createExperiences(); A cold case involving a developmentally disabled man who had been missing for almost thirty years after he lost his memory was solved by the very man himself.

Edgar Latulip was just 21 years old in September of 1986 when he boarded a bus in Kitchener, Canada, bound for Niagara Falls – and ending up making his way to St. Catharines, Const. Philip Gavin of the Niagara Regional Police tells PEOPLE.

“Around that time he fell, which resulted in a head injury,” says Gavin. “That head injury also resulted in a loss of some of his memory and his identify. For the next thirty years he developed a new identity and lived under that name.”

But on Jan. 7, everything changed.

“He got in contact with a local social worker,” he says about the now 50-year-old. “During the course of that contact he started to question and believe that his real name was Edgar Latulip.”

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That led the social worker to do some research online, and when she searched his name on Google she found his missing persons case from the Waterloo Regional Police Service.

When the Niagara Regional Police department was contacted, they immediately had officers go talk to Latulip and the social worker.

“We brought in a team of detectives who sat down with him and had a chat and an interview,” he says. “They found the missing persons case and communicated with the other police agency.”

Although certain physical attributes lined up, it was only when Latulip agreed to a DNA test that it was confirmed on Monday that he was in fact the man who vanished decades ago.

His mother, Sylvia Wilson, had given up on seeing her son alive, according to The Record.

She worried that Latulip, who reportedly had developmental delays, had killed himself or had been killed. He had been receiving a disability pension and living in a local home where he rented a room. The last time she reportedly saw him he was recovering in the hospital from a suicide attempt and had lost a lot of weight.

“This is always at the back of my mind. Having an answer would mean closure,” she told the newspaper in 2014. “When Edgar disappeared, I became quite sick. I had to take a leave of absence from work. I was near a nervous breakdown.

Detective Const. Duane Gingerich of the Waterloo Regional Police Department worked on the investigation for years and couldn’t be more thrilled he was found alive.

“I had hopes that he was out there somewhere,” he told The Record. “For us as investigators, this is great, this is awesome. It’s satisfying because most of these cases don’t turn out this way. You expect the worst when a person is missing for that period of time.”

Now, the police are working on the final piece to the puzzle – reuniting Latulip with his family.

“He’s been informed that a match is there and now we’re working toward reunification with his family in the near future,” Gavin said.