SAN DIEGO (KGTV/CNN) -- A chance encounter outside a Costco in California helped solve the five-year-old mystery of a missing man whose family believed was dead.
Alicia Clark and her wife Claudette first saw David McCovery, 61, a few weeks ago panhandling in the San Diego neighborhood of Mount Hope.
"He was hobbling and only had one shoe, and his foot was swollen," said Clark.
They bought him shoes, socks and food, and talked with him.
"Cladette asked if he needed anything else, and he said, 'I just want to go home,'" said Clark.
McCovery told them he grew up in Moss Point, Mississippi. He said he was getting his life back together after a stint in prison five years ago.
Around that time, he had volunteered to drive his brother's friend to San Diego to see his child. When he got here, the friend asked McCovery to go inside a Burger King to get a drink.
"When I got outside, I looked around, and he wasn't there," said McCovery.
Without a phone or money, he ended up on the streets. Having recently suffered a stroke, he became confused. He couldn't remember contact numbers for his family. So, he panhandled and survived.
"Never thought it would happen to me," said McCovery. "I just wanted to give up. I thought I would be stuck for the rest of my life ... Something in me wouldn't let me give up."
When he told his story to the Clarks, they posted the details on Facebook. Within a few days, they heard from his family members who were overwhelmed with emotion. Turns out, they had searched for him in San Diego over the past years but never found him. They thought he was dead.
"One sister, who thought he was dead, couldn't even connect in her mind it was David ... Then they just started screaming and crying," said Clark.
The couple put him in a hotel. KGTV reporters met them and McCovery at the airport as he prepared to fly home.
"I can't wait, can't wait ... Full of joy right now," said a tearful McCovery.
"I've never shed so many tears. This has been life changing for him - and me, too," said Clark.
McCovery says his faith in God kept him going through the rough times and calls the Clarks, his "angels."