After 14 Years, NJ Alzheimer's Patient Identified

Can now be moved to nursing home from psychiatric hospital
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 24, 2009 10:05 AM CDT
An undated handout photo shows Elba Leonor Diaz Soccarras at Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital.    (NJ Dept. of Human Services)
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(Newser) – A long-unidentified woman with Alzheimer’s who has spent the past 14 years in New Jersey psychiatric hospitals finally has a name—and may now be moved to a nursing home, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. A suspected illegal immigrant before she was identified, Elba Leonor Diaz Soccaras, 74, was ineligible for a nursing home when she was found, confused, at a shopping mall.

Last September, local newspapers told her story and published photos, and state human services received a flood of tips, many identifying the woman’s daughter in Brooklyn. The daughter’s birth certificate identified the mother as Soccaras—a name the woman once mentioned in her first psychiatric hospital. Soccaras’ daughter said she’d been out of touch with her mother, who entered the US legally in 1969, for years.