Questions need to be answered, faces need to be recognized and hope needs to prevail.
That’s exactly what the Investigative Discovery Channel’s “Disappeared” aims to achieve. On Nov. 14 at 10 p.m., local resident, Amber Gerweck, will share her story on the show of how she went missing and was found hundreds of miles from home alive and with amnesia.
Months after her disappearance, Gerweck still does not recall most of the details of what happened.
“When we heard about Amber’s story we immediately pursued it, hoping we could connect with her and her family members and arrange for them to tell the story,” said executive producer Elizabeth Fischer. “At the end of the hour, Amber has a message for families of the missing, and that is to remain hopeful. We thought that was a poignant note to end on.”
Usually when a person goes missing for as long as Amber did – three weeks - it is rare that the person is found alive and in healthy condition. However, that is exactly what happened in her case.
“It’s so unusual to have someone be found and to have someone be found with amnesia is even more rare,” said Gerweck. “I want people to know there is hope. If someone you love is missing, you must have hope.”
Gerweck left her home in Michigan in early April without a trace. Her car was found hundreds of miles away in Tunnel Hill, Ga, a few minutes north of Calhoun where her parents, Jackie and Dale Seger, reside.
The family scoured North Georgia and Michigan for clues to Amber’s absence for weeks with the help of law enforcement, but there was no trace of her.
Their prayers of locating her were answered on May 2 when Gerweck flagged down a police officer in Joliet, Ill stating that she didn’t know who she was or how she got there. The police contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Gerweck matched the missing person’s report filed here.
“You expect it to be something you see on a movie or a soap opera,” said Gerweck. “I want people to know that it does happen and it is real.”
Gerweck after taking a while to contemplate if she was comfortable enough to do the show, decided that she was, and more than anything, wanted to help others cope who may be going through a similar situation.
The day that the producers came to interview Amber and her family was one she and her mother won’t soon forget.
“It was a grueling day for me, and I’m sure for everyone else, to relive all the events we had gone through,” said Gerweck. “They interviewed me first, so I could get it done and out of the way.”
Her mother, Jackie, went on to say that the producers wanted to interview each person separately so that the interviews were more personal and there wouldn’t be any distractions.
“I really encourage people who are able to watch the show, just not my episode, but the show in general, to watch it, so that the people who have not been found will be seen and hopefully be recognized,” said Gerweck. “I appreciate the show for what it’s doing.”
As of now, Gerweck is doing much better. Through therapy she has gotten over most of her anxiety, but it still dealing with the gaps in her memory from the time she was missing. Doctors say that it is highly unlikely that she will ever get back the memories of what happened during the three-week period she was gone.
However, Gerweck is getting more and more memories back from her past. Her amnesia wiped clean her memory of adulthood, and she has worked to recall the career she had and the family members who love her.
“I’ve had a lot of therapy and still seeing people for other emotional issues that I have when my memories come back,” said Gerweck. “When I have a flood of memories come back it can be overwhelming and exhausting, whether it’s good or bad memories, but on a day-to-day basis I’m doing fairly well.”