A former San Diego man noticed something familiar in a Facebook post asking for help in identifying a woman with amnesia and Stage 3 ovarian cancer, though his theory ended up being unfounded.
The woman was found barely conscious on February 1 in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. She is now searching for anyone who knows her name or her family.
"Sam," as she calls herself, couldn’t tell emergency responders her name or any personal details. Doctors think her amnesia is the result of the antibodies of a malignant tumor.
When Dennis Schreiber of Richmond, Virginia saw an image of Sam in his Facebook feed Tuesday morning, he noticed something familiar.
He looked through his El Cajon Valley High School yearbook and compared Sam's photo to that of a former classmate.
"I went to my annual '72 and there was her picture," said Schreiber.
"You know, the eyes. You can always look at somebody's eyes. They don't change," he said. "It just looked to me like it was the same person."
However, the woman in the photo later called NBC 7, telling us she is not the mystery woman.
When Sam spoke with NBC 7 on Monday, she spoke with an Australian accent.
“I can’t remember anything. How I got here? I didn’t have anything on me, no jewelry, no purse, nothing,” she said.
She uses words like “bloke” for man and “loo” for bathroom, said she feels a connection with the Australian city of Perth.
The link to Sam's story has been shared thousands of times from NBC 7's Facebook page - by people living all over the United States, Australia and even Ireland.
Australian news outlets have picked up the story and tips from down under have begun to pour in.
“I’m hoping that someone sees me, or this (referring to the NBC story), or something on the Internet and my family immediately says ‘there she is!, there she is!’” Sam told NBC 7 on Monday.
The FBI has taken her finger prints and used facial recognition software in an effort to locate her family. A page has also been created for her on the international police information sharing website Interpol. Her case has also gained traction on social media. A Facebook page created by hospital friends has helped gain the attention of the Australian Consulate.
Editor's note: Schreiber provided NBC 7 with a high school yearbook photo of the woman he believed was tied to the case. However, the actual woman in the picture asked we not use it, so it has since been removed.