A fall off an LA pier led to the unraveling of a mystery that's been haunting Kayannette Gabrielle's family for over a decade. People tells the story of the California woman, originally from Colorado, who disappeared from the lives of her grown kids in April 2006. At first Brett, Colette, and Jared Hanlon speculated their mom had traveled to Australia, but she never came back—not even for the funeral of her own mother. Even the private investigator they hired came up empty. "We had no luck," Brett says—until Feb. 28 of this year, when he got a phone call from the LA County Sheriff's Department. "Are you sitting down?" was the text Brett sent next to Colette, per the Denver Post, revealing the news that Gabrielle, who'd apparently been suffering from severe memory loss, was alive and homeless in Santa Barbara, where she'd been living for several years as "Mary Roberts."
Gabrielle's fall led to her being treated at a hospital, then placed in a shelter, where a few weeks ago she suddenly remembered her name. Cops ran that name, found her driver's license, and contacted her kids, whom she started to remember as their names were mentioned and their pictures shown. Although Gabrielle hadn't exhibited signs of memory loss before she vanished, she told Colette and others she'd been attacked in an Oregon park and her memory deteriorated after that. The family had an emotional reunion in early March in Santa Barbara, and now Gabrielle's kids are trying to help her recover lost memories. "The more we talk to her, the more things pop into her head," Colette tells the Post. (The family of a man with dementia may have dumped him in England.)