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World 'Mr Unknown' finally identified: Man discovered lying in a New York park with no memory of who he was is identified as missing Uzbek tourist who had not been seen since he left his family to buy a bottle of water in August

04:25  13 march  2018
04:25  13 march  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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a close up of a newspaper: Sabirjon Akhmedov, 61, arrived in the US in August to visit his daughter in Columbus, Ohio, when he went to go buy a bottle of water before his nighttime bus departed in New York© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Sabirjon Akhmedov, 61, arrived in the US in August to visit his daughter in Columbus, Ohio, when he went to go buy a bottle of water before his nighttime bus departed in New York A man found lying in a New York City park with no memory was discovered to be a missing Uzbekistani tourist.

Sabirjon Akhmedov was planning to visit his daughter in Ohio with his nephew when went across the street to buy a bottle of water before their nighttime bus departed Lower Manhattan on August 3 - but he never returned.

Three days later, Akhmedov was discovered in a park by a woman jogging near 110th Street and Riverside Drive - seven miles from where he went missing - and he carried no form of ID.

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Suffering from a traumatic brain injury and with no memory of what had happened to him, he would spend 52 days at Mount Sinai St Luke's Hospital before one doctor was able to figure out who he was.

a person posing for the camera: Dr Ayesha Arif (pictured) at Mount Sinai St Luke's Hospital discovered his identity after he croaked out a name and, after searching through Google, found the NYPD's poster© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Dr Ayesha Arif (pictured) at Mount Sinai St Luke's Hospital discovered his identity after he croaked out a name and, after searching through Google, found the NYPD's poster

Akhmedov, 61, had arrived at Kennedy Airport on August 3 and took a cab with his nephew to Canal Street where they planned to catch a nighttime bus to Columbus, Ohio.

Hours after disappearing, his nephew called police. When Detective Sal Tudisco of the 7th Precinct arrived, he and the nephew had a hard time communicating until the NYPD veteran called his Russian-born barber to translate.

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Eventually, after much searching, Tudisco found surveillance footage showing Akhmedov approaching a deli before walking right past and appearing to get lost.

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'He goes around the corner, over to Orchard Street then over to Division Street,' the detective told the New York Daily News. 'He crosses the street and he's by himself and he starts to panic a little. He starts jogging a little.'

No footage is seen of Akhmedov after he approaches Ludlow Street.

Tudisco put up missing person flyers and Akhmedov's daughter, Feruza Akhmedova, arrived in New York City to help look for her father, but to no avail.

'I thought he was dead,' she told The News. 'But police said: "He's not dead, we're going to find him and he will get better".'

Three days after going missing, Akhmedov was found lying unconscious in a park by a woman jogging near 110th Street and Riverside Drive.

Akhmedov was taken to Mount Sinai St Luke's Hospital on the Upper West Side, suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Doctors suspected he had been hit by, or thrown from, a car.

a person wearing a costume: Akhmedov (pictured) was discovered lying unconscious in a park by a woman jogging near 110th Street and Riverside Drive three days after he disappeared. He was suffering from a traumatic brain injury© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Akhmedov (pictured) was discovered lying unconscious in a park by a woman jogging near 110th Street and Riverside Drive three days after he disappeared. He was suffering from a traumatic brain injury

The Upper West Side’s 24th Precinct opened an unidentified-person case while St Luke's staffed nicknamed the T anonymous visitor 'Mr Unknown'.

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After stabilizing, he was moved to the trauma surgery unit where one of his doctors was Dr Ayesha Arif, a 26-year-old first-year anesthesiology resident.

Because of the foreign currency found in Akhmedov's pockets, Arif and her fellow intern knew he was probably from Uzbekistan.

Aside from the lack of communication due to a language barrier, he'd had a tracheotomy and was unable to speak above a whisper because of the tube in his throat.

One day, however, he whispered what sound like a name and Arif wrote down the name phonetically.

After trying it with different spelling different search terms such as 'missing person' and 'Uzbek', a Google search produced an Uzbek press article showed an NYPD missing-person flyer with Akhmedov's photo - 52 days after he'd arrived at the hospital.

'I was like: "Oh my God, it's him!"' the doctor told the newspaper. 'I was losing my s**t.'

After finding the full missing-person poster, she called Tudisco's number.

'He was really surprised,' Arif said. 'He said: "Where are you? I'm going to come to you right away". Everyone was freaking out.'

The detective called Akhmedov's daughter in Columbus, who was flooded with surprise and relief. She drove through the night and arrived at St Luke's the next day.

a close up of James Rickards: Detective Sal Tudisco (pictured) spent months working on the case. Although he was able to find surveillance footage of Akhmedov disappearing in the Lower East Side, no video has turned up of what occurred between August 3 and August 6© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Detective Sal Tudisco (pictured) spent months working on the case. Although he was able to find surveillance footage of Akhmedov disappearing in the Lower East Side, no video has turned up of what occurred between August 3 and August 6

'I was crying and yelling to everyone, 'I found my dad!' Akhmedova told The News.

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a close up of a piece of paper: Until his identity was discovered, Akhmedov was dubbed 'Mr Unknown' by St Luke's staff. The foreign visitor has no memory of what happened to him but doctors have theorized that he was hit by, or thrown from, a car© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Until his identity was discovered, Akhmedov was dubbed 'Mr Unknown' by St Luke's staff. The foreign visitor has no memory of what happened to him but doctors have theorized that he was hit by, or thrown from, a car Akhmedova thanked Arif for helping to identify her father. Akhmedov had a final surgery and was discharged. He planned to spend a few months in Ohio with his daughter and his wife before returning to Uzbekistan.

'He thanked all of us. He shook our hands,' Arif told The News. 'He was grateful.'

Despite the happy ending, police still don't know what happened between August 3 and August 6.

'I don’t remember what happened,' Akhmedov told The News, translating through his 16-year-old granddaughter. 'I woke up at the hospital. I was so scared.'

Tudisco searched for surveillance video near where Akhmedov was found but he's not found anything yet.

But the detective is not giving up, saying: 'All you need is one lead.'

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