Woman Missing Since 1975 Found, With No Clues on Life

Flora Stevens disappeared 42 years ago after being dropped off at a doctor's appointment
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2017 6:24 AM CDT
NY Woman Who Vanished as a 36-Year-Old in 1975 Is Found
Detectives Ed Clouse, left, and Rich Morgan pose with Flora Stevens, now known as Flora Harris.   (Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, via New York Daily News)

A woman who disappeared from upstate New York 42 years ago has been found suffering from dementia and living in a Massachusetts assisted-living facility, authorities say. The sheriff's office in Sullivan County, NY, says Flora Stevens, 78, was using the last name Harris when detectives tracked her down this week at the residence in Lowell, near Boston, per the AP. Officials say they've been unable to figure out what happened to her between her August 1975 disappearance and when she was found. Police say Stevens was a 36-year-old Catskills resort worker when her husband dropped her off for a doctor's appointment in Monticello. When he returned to get her, she wasn't there. Police periodically reviewed her case but hit dead ends. Thanks to a query from New York State Police working on a different cold case, they got a break in September.

Remains had been found in a neighboring county; police thought it might be Stevens. During a records search, a detective found someone was using Stevens' Social Security number in Massachusetts. Deputies tracked it to the Lowell residence, where staff said it belonged to Flora Harris, there since 2001. Detectives confirmed Harris was Stevens. Cops say due to her condition, she couldn't offer details of her life, but she recognized herself in a photo ID card from the now-defunct resort. "She looked at the ID and said, 'Me!'" one of the detectives says, per the New York Daily News. Medical records under "Harris" show she previously lived in New Hampshire and NYC nursing homes. Stevens apparently has no living relatives. "It's not too often we get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case," Sheriff Mike Schiff says in a press release. "The main thing is we know Flora is safe."

(Read more missing person stories.)

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