A New York woman who had gone missing for a whopping 42 years has finally been found. The woman disappeared from upstate New York shortly after she was dropped off for a doctor's appointment, fortunately, she has been found suffering from dementia and living in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts.
Reports from the sheriff's office in Sullivan County, New York, indicate that Flora Stevens, 78, was using the last name Harris when detectives tracked her down this week at the residence in Lowell, near Boston.
The authorities are yet to find out what exactly happened to her between the time of her disappearance in August 1975 and when she was found.
"It's not too often we get to solve a 42-year-old missing-person case," Sheriff Mike Schiff said in a press release. "The main thing is we know Flora is safe."
Authorities revealed that Stevens was a 36-year-old employee of a Catskills resort when her husband dropped her off for a doctor's appointment at a hospital in Monticello, 75 miles (121 kilometers) northwest of New York City. When he returned to pick her up, she wasn't there.
The police made several attempts by reviewing her missing person case but they didn’t succeed. However, they managed to get a break in September, thanks to a query from a New York State Police investigator working on a different cold case. The unidentified remains of a woman had been found in neighboring Orange County, and the investigator said they roughly matched Stevens' general characteristics.
Investigators asked Sullivan County for help in tracking down any relatives who could provide a DNA sample for possible identification. During a records search, Detective Rich Morgan discovered someone was using Stevens' Social Security number in Massachusetts.
The number was tracked to the Lowell assisted-living residence, where staff confirmed the number belonged to a resident named Flora Harris, who has lived there since 2001. Morgan and another detective went there Tuesday and confirmed Harris was actually the Flora Stevens who had disappeared in 1975.
Based on her circumstance, she couldn't provide details of her life since then, police said. But the detectives brought along Stevens' employee photo identification card from the now-defunct Concord Resort, and she recognized herself, officials said.
The medical records under her new name revealed that she lived in nursing homes in New Hampshire and New York City before arriving in Lowell. Her husband died back in 1985, and she does not have relatives.