Case of amnesia victim found in Joliet to be featured in show
By Brian Stanley Bstanley@stmedianetwork.com November 13, 2011 7:28PM
Updated: December 15, 2011 10:06AM
JOLIET — A look at a real-life mystery that was resolved right here will air on a TV program tonight.
The case of Amber Gerweck is examined in an episode of “Disappeared” on the Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel entitled “Memory Lane” premiering at 9 p.m.
On April 12, Gerweck, 32, a divorced mother of four, was discovered missing from her apartment in Jackson, Mich. While her cell phone and purse were inside, her car and wallet were also gone. After her information was put into a police database, her parents were baffled to learn her car had been abandoned two days earlier about 40 miles from their house in Georgia, approximately 600 miles from Gerweck’s apartment.
The program presents interviews with family members and investigators, re-enactments of what is known about Gerweck’s activities and real security footage of Gerweck at the store where her car was found.
Detectives saturated the area with searches and fliers, but received no leads.
“(Her) dad and I both expressed this was going to end badly,” Amber’s sister Heather Seger said.
On May 4, Georgia Bureau of Investigator Special Agent Daniel Sims met with Dale and Jackie Seger and said there was nothing more they could do with the case unless more evidence ever turned up.
“But no matter how many cases you’ve (worked) somebody throws you a curveball,” Sims said.
A few hours after Sims met with the Segers, he got a phone call from the Joliet Police Department. Two nights earlier a patrol officer had been flagged down by a woman at Bicentennial Park who said she didn’t remember who she was or how she got there.
When a woman read The Herald-News article about “Jane Doe” and an online “Missing” poster for Gerweck, “Who” and “Where” were solved happily, leaving “How” and “Why” to become the focus.
Gerweck suffered from transient global amnesia, which despite what fictional TV programs have portrayed is incredibly rare. Dale Seger said a Silver Cross Hospital physician told him “99.99 percent of doctors would never encounter” such an event.
The Segers recall the mixed emotions they felt during the reunion at the hospital before Amber herself appears in an on-camera interview. She didn’t remember them or her children and was upset because she knew she was supposed to.
Now living with her parents, Gerweck still hasn’t recovered her memory of her earlier life or what triggered her amnesia. She “refuses” to think about what happened while she made her way from Michigan to Georgia to Illinois for fear she’d “drive (her)self crazy.”
While the production did not film any part of the episode in this area, The Herald-News and the Joliet Police Department are acknowledged in the credits.