The Man Who Faked His Own Death Finally Gets Caught

So this is a story that seems like it came out of a movie. Everyone thinks about disappearing and leaving the challenges of day to day life from time to time. However, for many of us, it’s just a thought that we never actually go through with. I mean, we have family and loved ones to consider. Even though falling off the grid and escaping responsibilities seems nice sometimes, it’s a selfish decision that is difficult to pull off.

A photograph of the Florida beach in the 1980s
Source: Flickr

“He faked his own death” sounds like a phrase only conspiracy theorists use because it sounds so far-fetched. Who really has enough energy to change their name, leave their life behind, and start all over thousands of miles away? Well, Bennie Harden Wint does. When things got too hard for this man, he pretended to drown, leaving a fiancé and his four-year-old daughter alone. After spending decades in hiding, a simple traffic ticket revealed the truth.

A Beautiful Sunny Day

It was a sunny September day in Daytona Beach, Florida. The year was 1989, and a young couple took a walk on the beach when they noticed a man attempting to take a dip in the ocean. He swam passed the beakers, and suddenly, he just vanished. That day, Bennie Harden Wint was lost in the waters.

A group of young people jumping into the ocean at sunset
Photo by Maxim Blinkov / Shutterstock

Sadly, he left behind his fiancé, along with his four-year-old daughter (from a previous marriage). After the man was reported missing, a huge manhunt was launched. Beach Patrol officer Scott Petersohn was working on the day Wint disappeared. He explained that “everybody feels it,” and when someone goes missing, “everybody takes it personally.”

Unlikely Circumstances

On average, about ten people die a day from drowning. Lifeguards on some of the busiest beaches in America know this fact all too well. However, something seemed a little bit strange about Wint’s reported drowning. Those on duty felt like something was off.

A photograph of a search and rescue mission in the ocean using a helicopter and a boat
Photo by Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock

Petersohn said, “Even back then, it struck everybody as odd that we didn’t recover the victim. That almost never happens.” Normally, if a victim doesn’t get recovered by a lifeguard right away, their body should wash up onshore within the next few days. Oddly, this wasn’t the case with Wint. What nobody suspected is that Wint and his fiancé were planning an elaborate plot to change his life – by ending it himself.

Missing, but Not Forgotten

I know this sounds a little extreme, but it’s not exactly what you think. That day, Bennie Harden Wint died, a man named William James Sweet took over where Wint left off. He came out of the water, left town, and abandoned everyone and everything he ever knew.

Footprints at sunset along the shoreline
Photo by Aleksandr Ozerov / Shutterstock

Sweet was already halfway to Alabama while beach patrol searched for Wint. Bennie Wint was never forgotten, but the people who loved him missed him. Twenty years after his disappearance, his four-year-old daughter Christi McKnight was all grown up; and she believed her dad was still alive. She thought it might be possible to find her missing father with the help of the internet.

Looking for Daddy

She uploaded a post online and explains why she suddenly wants to find her dad after all these years. She was hoping to help save her dying grandmother. She wrote, “Doctors say she should have been dead years ago, but they say she’s holding on to one thing, and we believe that she is holding on to my father.”

A man with his young daughter on his shoulders
Source: Flickr

For a while, she didn’t get an answer. One year later, Sgt. Stacy Wyatt of North Carolina detected a car with a license plate light that was out. He flashed his lights and pulled the car over. This seemed like nothing but a routine traffic stop, however, things turned out a little differently.

License and Registration Please

Following police protocol, Sgt. Wyatt asked the driver for his license. The man did not have his I.D. on hand but insisted that his name is William James Sweet. The North Carolina officer thought this was a major red flag. He followed his instincts and brought the man in for questioning.

A photograph of police officer pulled over to the side of the road with a car in front of him
Photo by Anne Kitzman / Shutterstock

Officer Wyatt described what happened next as “kind of like a movie.” Sweet was questioned about his identity back at the station… or his lack of identity. There was no one with the name he gave on record that fit the man’s description. That’s when the truth started to unfold. He was ready to tell detectives who he really was. He didn’t have much of a choice at that point.

Okay, I Confess!

While he was under police custody, Sweet finally told the truth about who exactly he is. He revealed that his real name is Bennie Harden Wint. He went on to confess that he walked into the ocean about two decades ago, and faked his own death. However, the police didn’t believe this ridiculous story; it just sounds like a lie.

Bennie Harden Wint’s mugshot
Source: Flickr

Plus, there weren’t that many ways to verify this absurd story. Wint went on to explain that he got rid of all of his personal identifications before he went off the grid and faked his death, so there was really no way for him to confirm his claims. Besides, what possible motive would he have to leave his life and daughter behind?

Tell Us Why

Well, Wint had an answer for the officers. His reasoning for leaving his life and family behind was because he was involved in a drug ring. At the time, Wint really thought that he was both wanted by authorities and on a hit list for his illegal activities. He admitted that he really saw no other way out.

Wint being interviewed by officers
Source: YouTube

Wyatt explained: “It was merely paranoia. He was running because of the prior life he lived.” He was just constantly worried and didn’t want to live that life anymore. It was indeed paranoia; police confirmed that Bennie Wint was not a wanted man in any state. It looks like for all these years, he was hiding from nothing.

No Comment

Meanwhile, his daughter Christi McKnight may have never learned the truth. Thankfully, Sgt. Wyatt pulled Sweet over for a traffic offense and discovered who he really was. His daughter and his ex-fiancé didn’t give an official statement or even comment on the shocking news about Bennie Wint.

A house with a ‘Private Property no trespassing’ sign
Source: Flickr

Plus, Wint/Sweet made it very clear that he is not giving an interview regarding his disappearance unless he is compensated. But people who were invested in the case were dying for details. Based on past headlines, everyone knows how juicy missing people’s stories’ could be; this one includes the fact that the missing man was involved in his own disappearance. It doesn’t get better than that.

Benjaman’s Double Life

Bennie Harden Wint made a decision to abandon his family and live a whole new life. This ridiculous decision seems absurd to most people, but Wint really wanted to be off the grid and live a new life. Even though he was aware that he had two different identities, that’s not always the case.

Benjaman Kyle
Benjaman Kyle. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Take Benjaman Kyle, for example. Similarly to Wint, he took on a whole new identity, but he wasn’t involved in a drug ring. Kyle suffered from memory loss and forgot everything about his past, including his name. Unaware of his identity, Kyle took on a new name. He hoped to eventually find his real family and learn where he came from.

What’s Wrong with Benjaman Kyle?

Benjaman Kyle sat on the infamous stage of The Dr. Phil show. As the popular T.V. therapist babbled on, Kyle just stared blankly. He looked particularly uncomfortable, and he was wearing a suit that was way too big for him. He looked very obviously out of place and seemed a little strange.

Benjamin Kyle sitting in a Burger King booth
Source: Twitter

As it turned out, this man was out of place almost everywhere he went. The reason? Kyle had no idea who he was. This isn’t in a philosophical or figuratively-speaking kind of way. He wasn’t trying to “find himself” on a yoga retreat or anything like that. He just simply didn’t know who the heck he was. Something must have happened to him.

He’s a Virgo

Kyle was sitting there under warm stage lights, lost and confused. He had no clue who he was and seemed to have forgotten all about his past; all he knew was his birthday. Well, at least we know his astrological sign (Virgo)… we gotta start somewhere. Anyway, it was pretty clear that this man suffered from some kind of severe amnesia.

A Burger King restaurant with drive-thru service in Georgia
Photo by Deutschlandreform / Shutterstock

On a 2004 summer day, a Burger King employee in Richmond Hill, Georgia, noticed a man lying down at the dumpster next to the restaurant naked. The poor man had a bad sunburn and was covered in fire ants. He looked like he was in pain and had so many bites on his skin.

Great Physical Health

Naturally, the Burger King worker immediately called police to get this guy some help. He was taken straight to the hospital for an evaluation. The incident they filed stated that the man was “vagrant.” Other than his strange appearance, the doctors said that the middle-aged white man was healthy.

A doctor measuring a patients blood pressure with a stethoscope
Photo by Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Obviously, they were talking about his physical health. He did have advanced stage cataracts in his eyes, but other than that, he seemed fine physically. However, there was clearly something else wrong with him. The man didn’t speak, refused to eat, and even started lashing out at the doctors and nurses that were trying to help him.

Institutionalized and Diagnosed

A mental disorder seemed like an accurate theory. I mean, this guy accused the hospital workers of being “devils” and “demons,” which is commonly seen in mentally ill patients. The man finally asked for a priest, but when he arrived, he called him an “imposter” and got so agitated. Because of his extreme symptoms, the man was finally diagnosed with catatonic schizophrenia.

Benjaman Kyle
Source: Facebook

After taking a dose of anti-psychotics, the man ended up in a psych ward. When he was asked who he was and where he was from, they finally got an answer, but it didn’t really help much. The man explained that he has no idea. All his memory gave him was fuzzy and vague glimpses.

Foggy Memories

For some reason, he believed he might be from Indianapolis, but he wasn’t at all sure. He also thought he possibly had brothers; however, he didn’t know what their names were or what they looked like. They weren’t really getting anywhere. He did have one memory though: he bought grilled cheese for a quarter at the State Fair.

Benjaman Kyle
Source: Twitter

Still, he was only sure of one thing, that his birthdate was August 19th, 1948. He was 100% certain about the one detail. He seemed to be lucid and reasonable, which made his condition particularly strange. Initially, his doctors suspected that this man might be faking his memory loss. Who would pretend to have amnesia? That sounds extreme and unnecessary.

He was Dubbed “B.K. Doe”

People started referring to him as “B.K. Doe,” which is short for Burger King Doe. They needed to call him something, so they referenced the place he was found. After some time, he decided that he thinks his real name could be Benjaman, with two As. He then picked his own last name – Kyle.

Benjaman Kyle eating a green pepper
Source: Facebook

That’s where the name Benjaman Kyle came from. After close observation, Kyle was declared sane, and he was moved to a homeless shelter in Savannah, Georgia. He was doing okay and worked and lived there for years. Because he was a hard worker, the nurses at the facility took a liking to the confused man and had a soft spot for Kyle.

Nurses Adored the Mystery Man

Kyle gained favor with one nurse, in particular, Katherine Slater. She took on the challenge to find out who Benjaman Kyle really was. Weirdly, Kyle didn’t seem to care who he was before. He appeared completely detached from the idea of finding out the truth. He chose to spend his time working at his maintenance job and reading fantasy books.

Benjaman Kyle
Source: Imgur

Slater, on the other hand, became obsessed with figuring it out. The police, FBI, journalists, and even online sleuths didn’t know who Benjaman Kyle was. His picture was posted all over T.V. and social media, but no lead came out of it. Still, it was more frustrating for Slater than for Kyle.

Dr. Phil Appearance

Finally, one day, Slater received a call from the one and only, Dr. Phil. She and Kyle headed to Los Angeles, hoping someone from Kyle’s past will recognize him on the hit show. He told his story in front of a live studio audience who were stunned. There was one detail that specifically struck a chord.

Dr. Phil showing three photos of Benjaman Kyle at different ages
Source: YouTube

Recently, Kyle got help from a local charity and received cataracts surgery. He described how he felt the moment he looked at himself in the mirror. Kyle expected to see a guy who was maybe in his 30’s. However, the man in the mirror was much older. Imagine looking in the mirror and seeing a person you don’t recognize?

Where Have the Years Gone?

Kyle expressed that he had no clue that he was so old. Understandably, the audience felt empathy towards this old man. He could be somebody’s grandfather. Sadly, even his Dr. Phil appearance didn’t help him figure out his identity. At this point, Kyle was feeling more and more discouraged. Who could blame him?

Benjaman Kyle on the Jeff Probst Show
Source: YouTube

Colleen Fitzpatrick, a “genealogical detective,” came into Benjaman Kyle’s life when he was in a really bad place. After a wage dispute, he left his job at the shelter and started mowing lawns to make some money. Since he didn’t have a Social Security number, his only option was to work an off-the-books job.

DNA Technology

Sadly, in the eyes of the government, Kyle didn’t even exist. This meant that he was unable to hold down a real job or get government assistance that he so desperately needed. Fitzpatrick wanted to assist this poor old man. She thought she could help by analyzing his DNA with a different approach.

A photograph of a woman with a man who looks like Benjaman Kyle, but in the end was not.
A woman with a Benjaman Kyle look-alike. Source: Twitter

Fitzpatrick used a 23andMe kit and crosschecked Benjaman Kyle’s DNA with a whole new pool of genetic samples. Previously, the FBI used their public database to help figure out who the mystery man was, but the service also offered private ones. Could this really work? Will Kyle finally discover who he was? Thankfully, the results came back and looked extremely promising.

The Powells

It turned out that Kyle shares some of the same features and characteristics of the last name Powell. Fitzpatrick reached out to the family asking for DNA samples, and also sent them pictures of Benjaman Kyle to see if they could recognize him. After all this time, it seemed like they were about to find out the answer.

Benjaman Kyle holding up his Florida drivers license
Source: Twitter

At that point, Kyle left Georgia. He left everything and everyone he knew, including Slater and Fitzpatrick, and started walking to Florida. He got a ride to the state line from a police officer, and he eventually ended up in Jacksonville. He still didn’t know who he was and left the people who were trying to help him.

Crazy Fish

Kyle started working at a restaurant called Crazy Fish as a dishwasher. It’s difficult to understand why he left Georgia in the first place. Especially since they started to make progress into figuring out who he really was. He tried to express his feelings to Katherine Slater, the nurse who was always there for him.

Benjaman Kyle
Source: Pinterest

He told her, “I’ve been in this identity, Benjaman Kyle, for a long time. And even if they figure out who I am, I’m probably going to feel like Benjaman Kyle.” I can understand where he is coming from. He literally doesn’t remember anything from his life before he became Benjaman Kyle. Still, people kept trying to help him.

William Brent Powell

A filmmaker wanted to help Kyle, so he set up a website for him. Unfortunately, this was another dead end. Shortly after, Kyle lost his purpose when the restaurant he was working at closed down. He felt so alone and became even more antisocial. It has been a decade since he was found at the Burger King dumpster and finally accepted the fact that he will never be found.

Kyle being filmed in front of a fast-food restaurant
Source: Facebook

Suddenly, out of nowhere, he received an interesting call. It was Genealogist CeCe More who finally found him. He was, in fact, from Indiana (as he thought), but his name was actually William Brent Powell. According to writer Matt Wolfe, Kyle’s reaction was, “I’m so relieved,” and then he was silent and sounded like he was crying.

Reunited at Last

Thanks to this new discovery, Kyle got in contact with his brother Furman. He gave his confused family member some details about his life and his family and his parents. They spent years looking for William Powell, but after no leads, they assumed he died.

Benjaman Kyle with his family outside of the Tax Collector’s office
Source: Twitter

Then, it was finally time for him to return to his childhood home and reunite with his family. When his friends and relatives saw him, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They waited so long for this moment and thought it would never happen. Powell was worried about what they might tell him, but he was quickly happy and relaxed when they told him their memories of him.

One Life, Two Identities

Kyle (now Powell) explained: “I said all along that I wasn’t an ax murderer. And, so far, I’ve heard nothing to contradict that.” He decided that returning home to Indiana was the best thing for him. He wanted to be around the family he left, specifically, with his ill brother. As he was settling into his old life, Powell continued to have a battle in his mind with his identity.

Benjaman Kyle’s yearbook photograph
Source: Pinterest

But after some time, little bits and pieces of his past started to surface. He told writer Matt Wolfe, “I’m worried about what the memories will be when they come back.” He then nervously said, “I’m sure they won’t all be good.” He was finally able to merge Benjaman Kyle’s identity with his real one.

Laura’s Amnesia

Amnesia can happen to all different types of people. Some people lose parts of their memory, and others barely know who they are. In Kyle’s case, he didn’t know his own name, age, or life. Another young woman lost her memory after an unfortunate head injury. Laura suddenly thought she was 17 years old and didn’t remember anything that happened in her life after that.

Laura and her husband
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

She had gone to college, got a job, and even got married since she was 17. The most heartbreaking part was that she did not remember the man she married. Even though Laura’s husband became a complete stranger, her story really shows the world that love can truly conquer all.

You know what they say: ‘love conquers all.’ You can find incredible stories proving that love defies all odds, but this one takes it to the next level. Laura Faganello decided to share her personal, powerful, and heartwarming story with the world through the power of social media. After overcoming a traumatizing and life-changing obstacle in her life, she wanted to inspire others.

Brayden with Laura holding up her hand with an engagement ring on next to a photograph of little love letters from Brayden
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Laura shared a little piece of her love story with her Facebook friends and then told the complete story on the blog ‘Love What Matters.’ After sharing her story, people all over the world fell in love with Laura and her boyfriend. The same way she did… twice.

This is her incredible story…

The Happy Couple

To understand this magical story, it’s important to know a little bit about the people we are talking about. The couple in question is Laura and Brayden Faganello. The married couple is from Victoria, British Columbia. They proved to the world that their love is so strong that it can get through the most difficult times.

Brayden and Laura Faganello in a field of tall grass
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Even though they are happily married and going through life together as husband and wife, there has been more than one occasion throughout their relationship where they have been complete strangers. In fact, the first time they spoke, they never even met in person. I guess that’s pretty common these days, thanks to online dating.

In the Beginning

So let’s take it back to the start. Brayden was serving in South Africa through the Church of Latter-Day Saints back in 2015. Laura had no idea who Brayden was, but she knew his cousins. Those cousins of his thought that Laura would be perfect for him. They asked Laura to write Brayden a letter and even gave her his address from across the world so she could send it. But Laura wasn’t interested.

Laura in front of the ocean blurred out right as the sun is setting out of view
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

She was getting ready to visit her mom and dad in Brussels, who were also stationed for missionary work of their own. Then Laura was headed for Spain to study abroad, and that was going to take up a large amount of her time. She just didn’t have time for love right now.

Why Not?

Even though Laura didn’t necessarily need a boyfriend at that point in her life, she also knew she had nothing to lose. She finally decided to write Brayden a letter but chose to use her home in Victoria as the return address, as opposed to her parent’s house in Brussels.

Brayden leaning on an old mustang wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses tucked into his white t-shirt
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

That way, she wouldn’t be focusing on some guy while she was trying to enjoy her busy summer with her parents and the summer program. As it turned out, Laura completely forgot about Brayden and the letter she sent him. That was until her brother gave her a call in Europe with news from home (he was still in British Columbia).

A Birthday Surprise

Laura’s brother called her on her birthday. He wanted to wish her a great day, and while he had her on the phone, he let her know that she got a letter from a guy named Brayden. Not only did Braydon wish her a happy birthday, but he was intrigued by the woman on the other side of the paper. He wanted to impress Laura and learn more about her.

Laura bundled up in red plaid in the woods dusted with snow
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Luckily, he managed to impress her with his wit and charm. When Laura described his birthday letter, she said it was the “funniest thing I had ever read.” That’s when she decided to send the missionary another letter. She wanted to know more about him, too. But this time, she put her current address on the envelope.

Choosing Love Letters

It didn’t take long for Laura to realize that sending Brayden a letter was one of the best decisions of her life. They started talking all the time, and for the next eight months, Laura and Brayden were sending letters back and forth to each other. I know what you’re thinking: why letters?

Love letters between Brayden and Laura sitting on a table
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Well, both of them did indeed have cell phones, but they thought that letters were more romantic. They decided to continue with the letters and not call or Facetime each other. However, in addition to the letters, the pair opted for one email a week. In her blog, Laura mentioned that her “happiest days were the ones where a letter from South Africa appeared in my mailbox.”

Finally Coming Home

Even though South Africa and Europe felt like worlds apart, Laura and Brayden’s living situations were temporary. In fact, within one month of each other, they both moved back to Victoria. Now they can finally see each other in person. After talking for months on end, they were excited about their first meeting.

Brayden holding Laura on the rocky bed by a lake
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

It was everything they could have ever dreamed of. By January, Laura and Brayden were officially dating. As February came around, the couple grew closer and said, ‘I love you’ to each other. Things were moving fast, but their connection was undeniable. As April was approaching, Brayden popped the question and asked Laura to marry him.

Tying the Knot

Three months after Brayden proposed, the happy couple planned their wedding and were ready to exchange vows. Their wedding was in July, so they became husband and wife on a beautiful summer’s day. They got to celebrate their special day with family and close friends. It was a gorgeous day that Brayden would never forget.

Brayden and Laura are standing on rocks covered in water
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

The new couple didn’t think anything could mess up their joy. They had no idea that their life and marriage were about to change forever. After nine months of marital bliss, both of their lives turned upside-down. Sadly, an incident would cause Laura to lose all memory of her married life.

Being Helpful

So, what exactly happened that caused Laura to lose her memory? A couple of days after Laura completed her last college exam that year, a family friend asked if she would help her with something. They were getting ready for some kind of event and wanted to make sure the place was ready.

Laura posing in front of the water with large rocks being hit with small waves
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

They needed Laura to help them deck out the tent, and she was happy to help. That day took an unexpected turn. The wind was really strong, and the tent wasn’t helping at all. It didn’t cover anything! All the balloons were popping, and all the glasses were shattering.

The Little Details

There are a few details from that day that have been engrained in Laura’s brain, and she probably won’t forget them for the rest of her life. One aspect she remembers “so clearly” is that three women were having a hard time trying to ensure that the support poles wouldn’t fall down.

Brayden giving Laura a kiss on the cheek for a photograph in the woods
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Laura was able to see that the pole wasn’t placed properly, but she also remembered the coordinator that was there helping them. That’s why Laura assumed that this was intentional and that everything was under control. She really didn’t think much of it… until it was too late. I think you can guess where this is going…

Uh Oh…

As they were getting ready for the event, Laura was asked to decorate the tables that were inside the tent. She was hunched over the table, trying to make everything as beautiful as possible. That’s when she distinctly recalls hearing the woman closest to her gasp. She knew something was happening, but didn’t even get the chance to react.

Brayden and Laura taking a selfie with rocks and water in the background
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Before she even knew what was going on, she heard and felt a huge thump over her head. The tent’s support pole crashed down and landed on Laura’s skull. Laura immediately put her hands on her head and tried to figure out what just happened.

Where Am I?

Thankfully, Laura was initially conscious when the pole hit her head. But she soon felt the room starting to spin. That’s when she began going in and out of consciousness. At this point, it wasn’t long before Laura would forget where she is and how old she was. That’s when her life completely changed.

Laura in dark clothing with brown hair and dark red lipstick photographed in front of the water with large rocks around
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

In her brain, Laura was still 17 years old. The only thing she wanted was for her parents to come get her and take care of her. Unfortunately, she had no recollection that they moved to Brussels three years earlier. Laura’s mind wouldn’t stop spinning, and she had no clue what was going on.

I’m Married?!

As you probably guessed, the pole that hit Laura’s head caused severe damage to her memory. It was like Laura had no knowledge of her current life. It was like everything she had vanished with one thump. Not only did she believe that she was still a teenager, but she didn’t recognize some of the people surrounding her.

Laura and Brayden on their wedding day
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Her whole life became foggy, and sadly, Laura had no memory of her wedding day. Confused, Laura didn’t even understand that she was old enough to be married, let alone married to Brayden. After her injury, she had no recollection of her husband. She said that she had never met that man in her life.

Just a Stranger

Since Laura’s injury brought her mind back to age 17, Brayden was a complete stranger to her. As heartbreaking as that was, Brayden still loved Laura and still thought of her as his wife. Her family wanted her to get back to regular life after the memory loss. In theory, that sounds like a good idea, but it was terrifying for Laura.

Brayden and Laura sitting on a bench in a wedding dress
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

To Laura, she was a 17-year-old girl, waking up to a man she doesn’t even remember meeting. In her blog, she noted that there were times where she would wake up in a “Rush of panic” because she is sleeping next to a stranger. When Brayden woke her up with a smile and “good morning,” it kind of freaked her out.

What is this Life?

Laura was understandably overwhelmed by this entire ordeal. She couldn’t even make it to the bathroom in time to throw up. The whole situation was way too much for her. Like, some random man was going to convince her that she supposedly had this unknown life. However, the facts were staring right at her.

Laura and Brayden standing on a porch with wooden beams
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

She knew her stuff was on the vanity right next to Brayden’s. She also noticed their wedding album sitting on the coffee table, and she was wearing a wedding ring. All the puzzle pieces were there, but Laura still couldn’t put them together and form a complete picture. I mean, her life after age 17 was forgotten.

Scared of Her Hubby

To make the situation even more difficult, this happened to Laura regularly. Every single day, she woke up next to a stranger and had no idea who he or she was. She couldn’t remember her life after high school, and how she even made it to this point. Most days, Laura woke up with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Brayden and Laura in the woods covered in snow
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Other days, Laura would wake up screaming and scared. As terrifying as it was for her, imagine how devastating it was for her husband. On his lucky days, Laura woke up, not feeling like she was in immediate danger. Those mornings made Brayden so happy. It made him so sad when his wife was terrified of him.

Daily Trauma

Sadly, Laura’s amnesia wasn’t exactly temporary. Sadly, her memory didn’t return after a couple of weeks. Instead, Laura spent the next two years living a life of misery. She was always scared and on edge. She barely knew who she was, let alone the strangers around her. To make matters worse, Laura began experiencing physical pain, in addition to her mental and emotional trauma.

Laura by the riverbed
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

When the pole fell on Laura, it caused serious damage to her spinal cord. That led to extreme headaches and back spasms. She would wake up in the middle of the night a lot with intense pain. Brayden took her to the ER often and really hoped someone could help her. Unfortunately, it was just part of the injury.

Giving Up on Her Dream

Due to the extreme pain she suffered daily, Laura couldn’t function like a normal person. This meant she had to leave college before she had the chance to graduate. The worst part is that she had to give up her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Things were getting even more depressing.

Brayden photographed by an older BMW
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

If forgetting big moments in life, including her wedding day wasn’t bad enough, Laura also lost her ability to read and write. There were times where it was hard for her to speak in complete sentences. Laura did try to contact the company in charge of the event that ruined her life, but they didn’t take responsibility for the safety mistake. Laura was too exhausted to fight and go no compensation for her situation.

Losing Her Job

With medical bills piling up, Laura found herself in a tough situation. On top of getting no compensation, Laura needed to leave college and was forced to leave her job because she couldn’t function. Laura just felt like everything in her life that she can’t remember was falling apart.

Laura photographed in the snow-covered trees
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

In addition to all the pressure Laura was feeling, she had to come to terms with a couple of things, mainly that she was a married woman. Even though her husband was a stranger to her, she was still his wife in the eyes of the law. For someone who can’t remember anything after age 17, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

Wishing for Her Memory

As the days passed, Laura started learning more about her life before the accident. She really just prayed for the best. She dreamed that she might wake up one day, and her memory would come back. She thought maybe there’s a chance she’ll remember everything that she forgot. Sadly, that never happened…

Laura photographed on the rocks by a large bed of water
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Laura couldn’t remember how things were before the injury. Not only did she forget Brayden’s letter, or that they got married, but she forgot how happy she was with him, and how much she loved him. Laura didn’t want this life. All she wanted was to be with her parents, her old friends, and her old life.

Brayden’s Struggles

Brayden obviously noticed that his wife was terrified. He knew the situation was eating her up; he just didn’t know what to do about it. It was so hard for him to watch his wife jump whenever he would slightly touch her, and she looked at him as a stranger. After all, in her mind, he was one.

Silhouettes of Brayden and Lauren walking along the rocky riverbed
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

All he wanted was for things to go back to normal. He didn’t know what else to do but to hope that she would remember their beautiful romance and how much she adores him. He knew that was a lot to ask for, but he just wanted his wife back. He prayed for some kind of miracle.

Memories Were Slowly Coming Back

A few months later, Laura and Brayden’s relationship finally reached a turning point. The more time Laura spent with her supposed husband, the subtle memories of the man came back. She still couldn’t remember (or feel) the love they shared, but she started to know that there was a connection there. Plus, she knew for a fact that they got married.

Laura photographed with blurry snow-covered woods behind her
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Understandably, this caused Laura to get even more confused. She knew she was supposed to love her husband, but she started to resent their marriage. She felt trapped whenever she looked down at her wedding ring. She assumed that because she was married, she had to stay with him.

Love Him, Love Him Not…

Laura was in a difficult situation. She knew she had to make a decision, but she also didn’t remember her life. She didn’t know if she should stay with this man who clearly loves her – a man who she supposedly loved bach. Or if she should leave him because she doesn’t know him anymore.

Laura and Brayden in a wedding dress and tux
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Deep down, Laura knew that staying with him would be the right thing to do, but she felt like she was doomed to a life of lost memories if she did. Brayden made her decision even tougher because of how much he cared for her. No matter how reserved she was, he never gave up on her. He continued to try to make Laura feel loved and cared for. She didn’t want to hurt him.

Laura’s Passion Project

Laura got to a low point and knew she needed some kind of change to make her life less miserable. Even though she couldn’t hold down a regular job, she didn’t want that to prevent her from trying to live a relatively normal life. She started thinking about what she wanted to do before the accident happened.

Laura and Brayden standing on a walkway with bushes surrounding them
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Laura and Brayden’s dream was to own their own photography and videography business. Laura decided to put all her energy into making the dream a reality. It turned into her “passion project,” and all her efforts were focused on that. However, she had to take it slow at the beginning.

Working in increments

Thanks to her head injury, it was difficult for Laura to focus on one thing for a long time. So, when she started working on her passion project, she would only be able to concentrate for 15 minutes at a time. Then, she would take a three-hour break to recuperate because she suffered from extreme pain and tension headaches.

Laura and Brayden taking a selfie in front of bushes
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Every time Laura worked, she would cry out in pain. However, she never let her pain bring her down. As soon as the tears dried, Laura continued to work as hard as she could. It didn’t take long for her love of photography to come back. When she remembered how much she enjoyed capturing beautiful moments, she knew she made the right decision.

A New Attitude

Two years after that fateful accident, Laura suddenly woke up with a new sense of self and positive energy. She wasn’t going to let this difficult decision get the best of her. She knew the only way to move on with her life is to fight through the pain. So, she took her life into her own hands.

A photograph of the bride and groom
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

First, she enrolled in two college classes; she knew she wanted to graduate, so she went back to school. It wasn’t easy. The work and tests were tough for Laura, especially with her head injury. On top of the fact that her mind and memories were all foggy, Laura was having a difficult time reading and writing. But Laura was determined and didn’t give up.

A Big Decision

Once she was focused on her classes and work, Laura realized it was time to make some changes in her personal life. She didn’t want to continue being married to someone she doesn’t know – and doesn’t remember loving. She didn’t know what exactly would happen with Brayden, but she knew what she needed to do.

Brayden standing in the woods
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

She finally worked up the courage to have an honest conversation with her husband. Laura went over to Brayden, holding her wedding ring in her hand. It was time to tell him how she feels, but she was worried about how he would react. She had no idea how he would take it.

The Dreaded Conversation

When Laura approached Brayden, he was working on their business. But when she told him her new idea, he couldn’t believe it. Basically, Laura told Brayden that she wanted to date him again, which left him a little confused. But as soon as Laura explained the strange request, everything started to make sense.

Brayden and Laura on a picnic with raspberries and Coca-Cola
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

She knew it would take a lot of time and energy, but admitted that she wanted them to fall in love again. Her mindset was, after all, “you know me, but I don’t know you.” Even though Brayden didn’t want to backtrack their marriage, he knew she was right. She deserves to fall in love – and remember it.

Their Second First Date

To make this plan a reality, Laura asked Brayden out on a date. She wanted to pretend like they were going on their first date all over again, so they headed over to the mini-golf course. When the pair reached the third hole, the two of them couldn’t breathe properly because of how hard they were laughing.

Laura and Brayden sitting on a large fluffy white bed with Christmas decorations around them
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Laura realized how much fun she was having, and it seemed as though they were connecting again. It didn’t take long for them to act like a real couple! They would go on drives, long walks together, and in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship.

Getting to Know Him

All Laura really wanted was to learn everything she forgot about the man she married. She had no recollection of his interests or the stories he once told her. Brayden was more than happy to tell her everything once again as if it was brand new information, because to Laura, it was.

Brayden wearing a denim button-down shirt open while standing in a field
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Of course, this also meant that Brayden had to hear all of his wife’s stories again. Even though he remembers everything, he didn’t mind. He was just happy that his wife was finally coming back to him. He left her cute little notes on the bed so that she will feel loved and care for. Plus, he even read Laura her favorite books before they went to sleep.

Falling In Love Again

A few weeks later, Laura noticed something about her relationship was Brayden. Even though she still didn’t remember him or their marriage, she realized she was starting to miss the little moments she did spend with him. When they weren’t together, all she wanted was to see him. She was thinking about him all the time, which is how many of us feel when we are falling in love.

Laura and Brayden embracing in the woods
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Laura found herself laughing whenever he was around, and she couldn’t help but smile when he crossed her mind. She couldn’t get enough of this man. She told everyone around how perfect he was, and she was so excited to fall in love with him again.

Feeling all the Feelings

Laura knew that this “new” relationship would take time to grow. She wasn’t ready to jump right back into a marriage with someone she doesn’t even know. She found herself going through the motions of this love. For starters, Brayden became her best friend (which is a huge factor in a successful relationship).

A photograph of little love letters from Brayden
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Next, the couple spent more time with each other; it was almost like she had a crush on Brayden. However, it didn’t take long for her to fall completely back in love with him, wishing to spend every moment in her life with him. In her blog, Laura noted, “Love is a choice, and I am choosing to love Brayden.”

New Memories

Laura knows that she will most likely never get her old memories back. But she was able to accept it, knowing that she can make new memories and new feelings of love towards her husband. Falling in love all over again because you forgot how it happened the first time isn’t something most of us get the chance to do.

Laura, Brayden, and their family
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Because of this second chance, Brayden was able to keep the girl he fell in love with in his arms. Brayden and Laura got their love story twice. If they didn’t start dating again, do you think they would have fallen back in love? Or do you think the lost memories would have ended the marriage?

A Summer of Love

Incredibly, the pair dated for the entire summer. For the happy couple, it was definitely the summer of love. Laura really did enjoy getting to know her husband, and Brayden was happy to watch her fall in love with him again. They had such a great time together that as soon as summer was over, Brayden had an important question to ask Laura.

Brayden with Laura holding up her hand with an engagement ring on
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

Even though she didn’t remember their vows, Laura didn’t want to live her life with no memory of her wedding day. So, Brayden proposed to Laura once again. As you probably could have guessed, Laura said yes. She was so excited about this new beginning.

Unconditional love

Even though Laura doesn’t remember her original love story with Brayden, she was able to create a new love story. Even though he had become a stranger, she fell in love with him just as much as the first time around. She was blessed with a man who would have gone to the end of the world for her, so it’s no surprise she fell in love with him again.

Laura posing with her engagement ring in a grassy field
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

This whole ordeal wasn’t easy on Brayden, either. He really struggled with the fact that his wife doesn’t remember him. He had his moments where he questioned if Laura would ever love him again, but he wanted to make it work. When he took his vows and promised to love his wife unconditionally, he truly meant it.

A Second Wedding

Now, Laura and Brayden are planning another wedding. In Laura’s mind, it’s the first wedding, and she can’t wait to tie the knot with her husband. This stranger she couldn’t remember has become the love of her life. She was ready to use this second wedding as a way to embrace their next stage of life together.

Brayden and Laura on a boat
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

After all, most of us don’t get to fall in love with the same person twice. Now that they have the option to show off their love and commitment towards each other, they couldn’t wait. The right person doesn’t come around all the time. Their love is something nobody could ever take away from them.

Focusing on the Positive

It’s no secret that Laura’s life took a dramatic turn after the accident. Everything changed, and she couldn’t remember anything. Her memories still haven’t returned, but Laura has since gotten her life back on course. In addition to falling in love with her husband again, she was able to take her career on a new path.

Laura in front of an old apartment building
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

If the head injury didn’t happen, she probably would have gone on to become a teacher. But she wouldn’t have been as happy as she is now. Today, Laura can relax, knowing that she created a thriving business that she is able to share with her true love. What could be better?

A Bumpy Ride

Nowadays, Brayden and Laura are running Fagonello Productions, a highly successful videography company. Thanks to their personal experience and love story, the couple specializes in wedding ceremonies. They love showcasing the love two people share on their wedding day.

Laura and Brayden kissing in front of the Church
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

They enjoy surrounding themselves with other people in love. It reminds them of their incredible story and how much they were able to overcome together. They went from strangers to lovers, to strangers again, and back to lovers. It was one crazy roller coaster, but at the end of the day, they ended up exactly where they belong – in each other’s arms.

Getting Through it

After Laura told her story through social media and her blog, people all around the world have been able to read their heartwarming love story. Some people sent their condolences and felt sorry for the couple and everything they went through during these last couple of years. Others congratulated the couple for proving that true love conquers all!

Laura’s Facebook post stating, “9 months after I married Brayden, I sustained a brain injury that completely changed our lives. While setting up for an event, a large pole dislodged and fell on my head. My next clear memory is waking up thinking I was 17 years old, and not knowing who Brayden was. My memory of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying Brayden was gone.”
Source: Facebook / Laura Hart Faganello

In fact, a lot of these people got inspired and started following the pair on social media. They want to keep up with them and see how their lives are going. You can see how madly in love this wonderful couple is, it’s hard to believe that they went through some real struggles.

Defying all Odds

True love is a hard thing to find, and once you find it, you should never let it go. No one knows where life will take you, but it’s important to have someone who loves you by your side. Even if you do find a fairy tale ending, every relationship goes through hardships. In Laura’s case, it was health-related, and the circumstances were out of their control.

Laura and Brayden posing in the green grassy lawn in front of the Church
Source: Instagram / @faganelloproductions

After their amazing first wedding, Laura and Brayden never thought their lives would flip completely upside down. Despite the devastating incident, Laura was able to fall back in love with her husband. She went through a lot with her memory loss, but this couple really proved that love will always defy the odds.