He smiles back at a reporter as she smiles and mouths the word “hello.” It’s an expression that belies both his official mental status — he’s believed to be non-responsive — and his circumstance. He has been lying in a nursing home bed for 15 years with a feeding tube in his stomach and a breathing tube in his throat.
Sixty-Six Garage, the random name he was given when he arrived at the UCSD Trauma Center in San Diego in 1999, is a John Doe who has been kept alive with machines since the vehicle he was traveling in crashed near the U.S.-Mexico border.
He can’t speak. Or walk. His atrophied limbs, his round face and his large brown eyes give him a child-like appearance, as though he’s been frozen in time. He couldn’t have been more than a teenager when he was thrown from the car, suffering a catastrophic brain injury.
Since inewsource made his story public late last year, at least a dozen families have come forward laying claim to Garage.