In September 1977, during a barn fire that killed a number of pigs, then 32-year-old Ronald Stan went missing from his East Williams, Ontario home.
"I remember that one quite well because we dug through dead pigs and so-on with our boots on, and had done our very best to find human remains," retired firefighter Jim Walsh told CTV News. "And there was none in that barn."
Stan left behind a wife and two children upon disappearing.
Although he was legally declared dead in 1986, a routine audit reopened the case in July 2014 and, using contemporary law enforcement technology, the Ontario Provincial Police found Stan alive in Oklahoma living under the name Jeff Walton.
"We were trying to account for the disappearance for Mr. Stan," said Const. Laurie Houghton of the Middlesex County OPP.
"One thing led to another and we found him in the state of Oklahoma."
In the United States, the "deceased" Stan, now 69, had taken up a new life -- he remarried, and had a son who in turn gave the man now known as Jeff Walton three grand children. He even became a fan of the New Orleans Saints.
"I'm still trying to put all the puzzle pieces together myself," Jeff Walton Jr. told Canada's The Star.
"It's been tough on me, but he's still my father. It doesn't change the man I knew for 35 years. Hopefully one day he can sit down and write a book and remember all the stuff he's been through in his life. It'd be a damn good book I'll tell you that, just from what I've heard."
Stan was discovered in a nursing home, where he lives with vascular dementia and heart disease.
His second wife, Debra Proctor, filed for divorce upon learning of Stan's past life.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]