Was It A Miracle? Missing Man’s Family Finds Him Alive 23 Years Later

We all know the phrase “let bygones be bygones”, but when what you are leaving behind is your family and you are leaving them unwillingly, this phrase fails to meet its end. Here’s an unbelievable story of a father of two children who one day left to work, but never came back. His wife and children looked for him for years, but they had to wait for nearly two decades for the mystery to begin to unfold…

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

#25. Missing Father

Approximately two decades ago, a small family in the Sunshine Coast of Australia lost a husband and a father when Gabriel Nagy disappeared in thin air without leaving behind any trace, letter, or any explanation as to why he left.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Many years later, Gabriel Nagy’s wife came back from work, when she found a letter in the mailbox from an unknown sender. When she opened it, the surprise and happiness that overtook her were such that she had to call her son and daughter immediately. They were about to learn the truth about Nagy.

#24. Back In Time

In order to know the real reason why Gabriel Nagy abandoned his family, we have to go back approximately eighty years ago, to Second World War Germany, very far away from his house in Australia. It was there where his parents met for the first time.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

None of Nagy’s parents were taking part in the war, so they soon decided to leave the country, as the future in Germany looked uncertain. As such, when they were able to save some money, they took the first boat they could afford and ended up in Australia.

#23. Early Life

A few years after Nagy’s parents relocated to Australia and found stable jobs, Gabriel was born. He grew up in Sydney in New South Wales with his family, but his life was not easy. Gabriel found himself taking care of his sick mother while his father was out working.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Sadly, his mother passed away and Gabriel was left living with his father. Nonetheless, as his father was never home because he had to travel abroad to work, Gabriel met Pamela and decided that it was time to form his own family.

#22. Married With Children

In 1976, Gabriel and Pamela were still living in Sidney, Australia, when they had their first son, Stephen. Two years later, in 1978, her second kid was born, this time a daughter, Jennifer. It looked like the family had a promising happy life ahead of them.

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But eleven years later, in 1987, things would take an unexpected and terrible turn. As Gabriel had a good job as a shopfitter, the family had a very good standing. At the same time, Gabriel was studying to become an accountant to further help the family. But what happened?

#21. Unprepared

Both Stephen and Jennifer remember her father as an incredible loving one, but they said that sometimes he struggled with things. In an interview Gabriel gave, he said that not making correct decisions was one of his flaws.

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He also said that even though he always loved his wife and children, he got married too early, too quickly, and he did not think about the consequences of early marriage. As a matter of fact, he found himself overwhelmed by family life, something he never had experienced.

#20. Where Are You?

But these little things that overwhelmed Nagy so much were not considered as warning signs by their family. In fact, his wife, Pamela, never felt that something was bothering him. After all, Gabriel would always be working, studying, or taking care of the three of them.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

But January 21, 1987, was the day that the nightmare began. Gabriel telephoned his wife and children and told that he was going back to the house to have lunch with them, so the family was expecting him… but Gabriel never showed up.

#19. Breaking News

Pamela, Stephen, and Jennifer waited for Gabriel to appear all night but he still never got home. The following day, though, the terrible news would get to their house, as the police told them that Gabriel’s car was found burned at the side of the road.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Not only was the car completely burned, but inside it, everything was messed up, as papers were scrambled all around it. But there were no signs of violence. This marked the beginning of a mystery that haunted the family for a very long time.

#18. Code Red

According to an interview that Jennifer had with The Courier-Mail in 2012, she said that “He’d never been away from home without telling anyone.” A few days later, Pamela took the case to the authorities, and a manhunt began.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Gabriel’s disappearance triggered a state-wide missing-person investigation. In that same interview with The Courier-Mail, Jennifer said that It had been very soon after everyone started rallying around and started putting out the big alarm bells.”

#17. Breakthrough: False Hopes

Only two weeks had to pass before a break in the case was reported. The Police Department called Gabriel Nagy’s family and told them that Gabriel had withdrawn cash from a bank in Newcastle, a city that is located 100 miles north of Sidney.

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But that was not the only thing reported, as the money he had withdrawn was used in a camping store to buy one tent and a sleeping bag. The police went to Newcastle to follow the lead, but it quickly went cold.

#16. Desolate

After requesting the help of the Newcastle Police force, Sidney’s officers decided to drop the case, as there was no new information about Gabriel’s whereabouts. Pamela and her children were devastated, and wondered what had happened to the children’s father.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Jennifer had a very hard time accepting the truth about her father’s disappearance, and she even thought that maybe she would never learn the truth. As she said to The Courier-Mail it was just so traumatic for everyone. It was too painful.

#15. Unanswered Questions

Years and years passed and Jennifer was no closer to understanding why her father had gone away without any explanation. She remembered asking her mother about his father every week, and Pamela, of course, would never answer the question.

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Both Pamela and Jennifer felt like their world was falling apart, as a loving husband and father had been taken from them. After some time, the family moved to the Sunshine Coast, 500 miles away from Sydney, in Queensland for a fresh start.

#14. Sunshine Coast: Coping With It

When they left their house in Sydney to the Sunshine Coast, they tried to keep all the details in record with the police, in the hopeful case that Gabriel went back to their family home and found it empty.

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As time continued to pass by, they started to think that Gabriel had been a victim of a crime and that he was dead. The family went on with their life, but they did not expect what the future had in store for them.

#13. One Last Try

Twenty-three years after the sudden disappearance of Gabriel in 1987, a new breakthrough took place, and it brought hope for the whole family and Gabriel’s friends. Senior Constable Georgia Robinson, who had been digging in the case for the last 10 years, found something interesting.

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When Georgia Robinson was nearing the end of her investigation, without hope of finding anything new about Gabriel, and a few weeks before having to declare him legally dead, she tried one last attempt at finding Gabriel.

#12. Don’t Die Before You’re Dead

While she was gathering all the documentation to present to the coroner in order to declare Gabriel Nagy dead, Georgia found a document that said that a person with the same name had had an eye surgery performed. Medicare, which is Australia’s health authority, documented the procedure.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the medical records belonged to a man named Ron Saunders, who was using the name of Gabriel Nagy, and living in the city of Mackay, 1000 miles from where he had disappeared 27 years ago.

#11. Mistery

In order to get to solve the mystery once and for all, the Mackay Police Department gave Robinson the contact details of Saunders, and after several days attempting to contact him, he picked up the phone. When they started talking, Saunders explained that his last 20 years had been a mystery.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

He went on and told Robinson that he was currently working at the Mackay’s River of Life church, but that he had spent several years living in the streets, but he did not really know who he was. He said, “There was something in the back of my head saying that I must have done something wrong to have been living the way I was.”

#10. You Are A Missing Person

Saunders and Robinson agreed to meet, and Robinson booked a trip to Mackay, as she wanted to confirm that Saunders was, in fact, Gabriel Nagy. As Saunders was very nervous about meeting up with Robinson, the first thing she said was “You haven’t killed anybody. You’re not wanted by the police. You’re a missing person, and that’s not a crime.”

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In order to return Nagy’s memories, Robinson started to show Saunders pictures and asking questions about his past. And like a flash of light, Saunders/Nagy’s memories started to rush back in as a furious stream.

#9. Memories

When Gabriel Nagy’s talked to The Courier-Mail, he said “Robinson gave me a letter from Jennifer, a letter from Pam, and letters from my dad and stepmom,” and all of a sudden the pieces started to fit in perfectly and remembered what happened to him.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Indeed, Saunders was Gabriel Nagy. The first thing he remembered was using his credit card in Newcastle, where he bought the camping equipment. According to reports that were found later, he had been in a car accident, but Nagy did not remember anything of that episode.

#8. Guilty And Homeless

In an interview with Vision Christian Radio, Nagy said: It was just a big blank in the back of my mind.” And while his family had been looking for him, he had been living alone on the streets, unbeknown to who he really was. He even thought he was going crazy.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

On top of that, he began to theorize that he was a criminal on the run, as he had a deep feeling of guilt that he could not start to explain. But, looking back in time, the guilt that consumed him was that of abandoning his wife and his small children.

#7. Fugue State

Jennifer thinks that his father may have fallen into a fugue, or dissociative state after the accident, although it is a very rare neurological condition. Those who suffer from fugue states often tend to forget who they are and leave their former lives behind.

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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fugue states are described as bewildered wandering, and that description is a perfect match to what happened with Gabriel Nagy after the car accident.

#6. Surviving

Nagy claimed that the two decades that he was missing from his house, he was living on the streets, eating what he could scavenge, and was sometimes given food thanks to the kindness of the citizens of the different cities in which he lived.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

After falling in the dissociative state, Nagy started to travel always to the North from Northcastle. First, he arrived at the city of Gladstone, and then to the city of Rockhampton, where he worked temporarily at a local farm. Afterward, he used to pick small and temporary jobs everywhere he went.

#5. Ron Saunders

When he passed through the city of Cardwell, one of the most northern cities in Queensland, he went by a beach called Saunders Beach. As he did not know who he really was, he adopted the name ‘Ron Saunders’ as his own, as it sounded pretty Australian.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Until today, Nagy still cannot explain the logic behind his travels to the north of Queensland, but he says that one of these adventures put him on the right track to his truth. One day, he found an abandoned bike at a dump and decided to ride it South for several days, stopping only to eat.

#4. The Church’s Caretaker

When he finally arrived in the city of Mackay after several days of riding his bicycle, he stopped to rest. And that is when he met Barry Hayhoe, pastor of the River of Life Church, who accepted him and gave him the first real food that he so desperately needed.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

According to Barry Hayhoe, Nagy looked like an almost dead man as he was “all ribs, skin, and bone.” After he fed him for several days, Gabriel Nagy repaid his kindness by working at the church. He helped so much that he became the church’s caretaker.

#3. Missing Pieces of A Missing Person

When he stopped being a homeless man and started living in the church that definitely saved his life, Gabriel spent two whole years living and working there. And one day, some hidden memories popped inside his head, and he remembered his old name. Ron Saunders was just a pseudonym, he was Gabriel Nagy.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

When he took his problem with Hayhoe, he was more than glad to help him. The pastor of the church got Gabriel another job at a nursing home, but they still could not put the pieces together… not until Gabriel’s eye surgery.

#2. To My Dearest

After Robinson heard the whole story, she told Gabriel that it was his decision if he wanted to contact, or not, the family he had left behind all those years ago. Without a doubt, Gabriel started to write a letter by hand to send to his real family. At the same time, his family was informed that his husband (and father) was alive.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Gabriel said in an interview that it was the longest letter he wrote in his life, approximately seven pages and a half-long, on both sides of the paper. He sent it via postal mail and a few days later, he received a text message on his new telephone.

#1. Miracles Can Happen

The first message he received was from Jennifer, which said: Hi, Dad, I just read the letter and I still love you. A few minutes later, his wife called and they talked until the battery of the phone died. A few weeks later, Jennifer took a plane to Mackay and was received by his father with a giant bouquet of flowers.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

At the same time, Gabriel reunited with his father and was able to meet his niece and nephew for the first time in his life. And even though Nagy plans to continue living in Mackay, he is in constant touch with his family and making up for the lost time. Jennifer said to The Courier-Mail: I want to give people hope that sometimes good things can happen – miracles can happen.”

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