Meridian Star

New Today

February 4, 2013

Virginia woman pieces together 17 years lost to amnesia

(Continued)

When she found herself in a group, she often kept quiet and hoped she would go unnoticed. But often her confusion became obvious, which prompted her to withdraw.

Marsha identified one woman in Shawnda's phone as a longtime friend, so Shawnda asked her to lunch. The other woman turned out to be harboring a grudge about the cost of a bridesmaid gown for a wedding Shawnda had called off in her 20s. "I didn't even know I was engaged!" Shawnda said.

Her previous engagement was only one of many surprises from Shawnda's past. In addition to selling timeshares and working as a legal secretary, Shawnda's longest, most accomplished career was as a sheriff's deputy and a correctional officer, jobs she had held for nearly 10 years. She was astonished to find in one of her boxes a stack of paper targets, riddled with bullet holes — a souvenir from her past life.

"I remember sometimes, she would tell [unruly inmates], "No, uh-uh, we're not going to have that kind of mess. It's not going to be that kind of day," said Les Tinsley, her commanding officer when Shawnda worked at Prince William- Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center. "And she would put an end to it."

The woman who could disassemble, clean and put back together a semiautomatic sidearm had to learn from her mother how to use far more ubiquitous tools: a stove, a phone, a can opener.

Shawnda had to put together a new persona, based on what she could learn of her previous self and how she felt about her new identity. In the past she'd been a party girl who could talk like a sailor; now she was a devoted mother and more ardent Christian.

Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

People are carrying less credit card debt in the wake of the Great Recession. Have you changed your credit card use?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide