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Originally published September 21, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Page modified September 21, 2013 at 8:23 AM

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Seriously injured man ‘in a fog’; cops seek help

The mother of a man found severely injured in Belltown last weekend wants to know what happened to her son — and why.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Someone must know something. Someone must have seen something.

That’s what Una Ripley has been telling herself all week, seldom venturing far from her son’s bedside at Harborview Medical Center.

Seattle police, as well, want to know what happened to Rory Burks, 33, who was taken to Harborview with severe head injuries after being found on a Belltown sidewalk early Sunday.

Burks was in serious condition in intensive care on Friday.

His mother said he has been “in a fog” much of the week, and that doctors have told the family that Burks faces a long road to recovery.

She said he still fears someone is attempting to hurt him, and he was unable to recognize his sister on the phone.

The unusual case began late Saturday when Burks, clad in a tuxedo, was a groomsman at a friend’s wedding in a hotel at Fourth Avenue and Stewart Street.

At about 1 a.m., some of the celebrants decided to walk to a pub near Pike Place Market for a final drink. Burks somehow got separated from the group.

Then shortly before 2 a.m., a passer-by called 911 after seeing a man unconscious, his head bleeding, on the sidewalk near Fourth Avenue and Blanchard Street.

Burks, who had no I.D. on him when medics arrived, was taken to the hospital and originally listed as a “John Doe.”

But a short time later, a medic who had been on the call saw other men downtown, wearing tuxedos identical to Burks’. He asked if they were missing a member of their group, and one of the men went to Harborview and identified Burks.

Ripley, of Lakewood, Pierce County, headed to Harborview when she heard the news and has spent the week at the hospital.

“We don’t know how much he’ll recover, but we’re just grateful he’s alive,” she said.

As of late Friday, no one who saw what happened to Burks had come forward.

For Ripley, who believes her son was attacked for his wallet and phone, it’s one more incident that points out the danger of Seattle streets at night.

The night before Burks was hurt, Shoreline Community College professor Troy Wolff was fatally stabbed while walking with a companion in the Pioneer Square area after a Sounders game.

Ripley said her son recently left the Coast Guard after eight years of service and planned to go back to college to study writing.

Because his wallet, phone and watch were missing, police assigned the incident to the department’s Robbery Unit. Anyone with information on the case is asked to calI detectives at 206-684-5535.

Jack Broom: or 206-464-2222

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