DETROIT (AP) – A newspaper article has helped uncover the identity of a severely developmentally disabled man known as John D108 Doe who has lived in a group home in Detroit since 2008.
Relatives came forward Monday saying the man the Detroit Free Press wrote about in that day’s editions was 46-year-old Maurice Williams. He disappeared several months after his mother, who was his primary caregiver, died in 2008.
He was found that year wandering the streets. Williams doesn’t speak beyond a few words, and his fingerprints didn’t bring back any matches.
Kathleen White-Montgomery, owner of Guardianship Service, became his legal guardian in May after a hearing in Wayne County Probate Court. She and her daughter, Stacey Conyers, who also works for the company, worked to learn his identity and they contacted the newspaper about him.
His cousin Olivia Williams, 52, of Detroit, made arrangements to leave work early Monday to meet with White-Montgomery.
“It’s been so long,” she told White-Montgomery before breaking down in tears.
Family members said they filed multiple missing-persons reports with police, repeatedly checked with the morgue and called nursing homes, but ran into dead ends. Olivia Williams brought a photo of her cousin when he was growing up and showed it to White-Montgomery and Conyers.
“I’m so happy to have an identity for this man,” White-Montgomery said.
It’s unclear when Williams will be reunited with his family. White-Montgomery said she wants to be careful for his sake and isn’t sure whether he will recognize them.
Audré Watts, who owns the group home where he lives, also tried to get more information. She began celebrating his birthday on Oct. 15 years ago after he wrote “10-15” on a piece of paper, which she believed he meant was his birthday. Family members said his birthday is June 30, 1966.
Regardless, a birthday celebration was held for him on Monday.
The state Department of Human Services has said 49 living John and Jane Doe adult protective services cases have been documented in Michigan since 1994.
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