Imagine this: you are killing time browsing the Internet one day when you come across a missing persons website. As you scroll through the various pictures and specs, you land on one that looks eerily familiar. You crane your neck towards the screen to get a closer look when you are hit with a bizarre realization—the person in the missing ad is you.

We know; the whole thing sounds like the plot of a cheesy Liam Neeson thriller, but that exact scenario actually happened to a Philadelphia man by the name of Steve Carter.

Carter grew up in a loving home in the affluent suburbs of south New Jersey, but he always felt that something was not quite right. His parents never hid from him the fact that he was adopted at age 4, but there were certain details about his past that he could never connect, like why his birth certificate was created a year after his birth.

In a series of interviews with PEOPLE, Carter says that this element made him “suspicious” about the specifics of his adoption and identity, but he managed to successfully push all of these feelings aside until he reached the age of 35.

At that time, news outlets were reporting on the story of Carina White, a woman who had come to realize that her adoption may not have been legal—a fact that drove her to embark on her own investigation. She visited missingkids.com and actually saw her baby photo staring back at her, and later discovered that she had been snatched from a Harlem hospital.

While Carter was certain that the events surrounding his adoption were likely not as nefarious, White’s story still struck a chord with him. So, he followed her lead and checked each and every one of the photos on the site, until he came across this…

Steve Carter missing personsMissing Kids via CBS News

The baby picture didn’t mean much to him, but the composite photo sure did. If you compare the image of the artist’s rendition with that of Carter’s, you’ll see that they are nearly identical. Once he read on, he realized that this missing baby was last seen in Hawaii, the state listed on his birth certificate. It had to have been him.

Since his discovery, Carter has been in touch with authorities who were happy to be able to finally close the lid on one of the oldest missing persons cases in the nation. He has even been able to speak with his biological dad and half-sister, two people who never gave up hope that he might one day turn up alive and well.

As for Carter’s mom, her story still remains a mystery. She was last seen in a psychiatric ward around the time of his disappearance, but she has not been located since.

We can’t even imagine what this man has been through. To meet Carter and get even further insight on his astonishing journey, be sure to check out the video below.

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this heartbreaking tale. Have you ever heard of a similar case before? Did you adopt your children? Have you suspected something similar happened to you as a child?