NY Woman Disappears, Found 43 Years Later

Published on 01/06/2020
ADVERTISEMENT

When this New York man took his wife to the doctor one morning, he never anticipated the outcome to be like this. After he waited for her to return to the car for a few hours, he grew more worried that something happened to her. When he went inside and asked the receptionist if she had seen his wife, she assured him that she was nowhere to be found.

Nowhere In Sight

Her husband showed back up like he promised he would, but she never came back out from her doctor’s appointment. Where could she have gone? Did something happen to her? Her case would remain unsolved for over 42 years until someone found her photo.

Nowhere in Sight

Nowhere In Sight

Nothing More Than A Cold

When he brought her to her doctor’s appointment, he did not think anything of it, other than the fact that his wife was battling a head cold. He let her out of the car thinking he would see her in an hour, but when he returned to take her home, things started getting fishy.

Nothing More Than A Cold

Florence Stevens

Florence “Flora” Stevens, a healthy 36-year-old woman, was last seen by her husband on the afternoon of August 3, 1975. Her husband said that she was so joyous and that her life was filled with love and exploration, so why did she disappear on this day?

Florence Stevens

Florence Stevens

A Resort In The Catskills

During the summer of 1975, Flora was an employee at a fancy resort in the Catskill Mountains. The Concord Hotel was a gorgeous 1,200-room resort in the mountains and was a very beloved tourist destination in the area since it was one of the biggest resorts.

A Resort In The Catskills

Educated

When they looked at her latest job application, detectives noticed that she graduated years ago from Lincoln High School in New York. When they looked at her latest job application, detectives noticed that she graduated years ago from Lincoln High School in New York. There was not much information that detectives could find on her, but what they did know was that her husband’s name was Robert Stevens.

Educated

Opening The Case

Nobody had any idea where Flora could have disappeared to. The investigation was open and many people helped to look for her, but everyone walked away confused by this rare and extremely confusing situation. Everyone knew her to be a kind woman, so her disappearance shocked people.

Reopening the Case

Opening The Case

The End Of The Road

Eventually, clues on where Flora could have gone became less and less; she had no living relatives and lived a pretty quiet life, so it was hard for detectives to gather information about her after a while. After a lot of effort and a lot of dead ends, the detectives had no choice but to give up for now.

The End Of The Road

No One Could Have Known

Unfortunately, none of the detectives had any leads, so they had no choice but to close the case for now. Nobody really spoke about Flora Stevens anymore after that, but they would one day. The case got re-opened many years later, and nobody saw this coming.

No One Could Have Known

Senior Investigator Yan Salomon

In 2017, Yan Salomon, Senior Investigator in the New York State Police, discovered some clues that he thought may help unlock some answers to this case– a case that he did not even know much about yet.

Senior Investigator Yan Salomon

Senior Investigator Yan Salomon

Looming Questions

He just happened to re-open the case of Florence Stevens. Did Investigator Yan Solomon finally find Flora? Where had she been for all of these years? Was she okay or was she living in danger? There were so many people who were following this case that the news spread quite quickly.

Looming Questions

Skeletal Remains

Unfortunately, Investigator Solomon did not come back with the news that everyone wanted to hear. He found a woman, but she wasn’t alive; he found her skeletal remains. He did not know who the woman was, so he needed some help identifying her body.

Skeletal Remains

Make Some Calls

The next thing he needed to do was pick up the phone and make some calls to see how he can get some help. So, he called the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and requested to speak with one specific person. He explained that he had found the remains of a woman near the Catskill Mountains but he needed backup in figuring out who the body belongs to.

Make Some Calls

Too Hard

Each year in the United States, about 70,000 women go missing, which meant that their range of possibilities was quite large. There was no way Yan Solomon would solve this mystery on his own, but he hoped to be able to do so with a team.

Too Hard

Too Hard

Information At Their Disposal

In January 2016, there were a whopping 21,894 active cases of missing women across the entire country. Mathematically speaking, that’s over 437 women in every one of the 50 states. Police kept records of all of these cold cases in storage so that they’d always have access to them, so now they could come in handy.

Information At Their Disposal

Looking For Her

Yan Solomon knew that this was not going to be an easy case to solve, so he got an entire team together in efforts of covering the most ground in solving this mystery. He felt that when an entire team worked together, they had the most chance of solving the case.

Looking for Her

Looking For Her

Welcome To Sullivan County

Even though Solomon knew that he had a lot of ground to cover, he started by going to the Sullivan County Police Department and starting to conduct his own research. He wanted to start out by doing local searching with his investigation in hopes of finding her somewhere locally and not having to make the search into a multi-area thing.

Welcome to Sullivan County

Welcome To Sullivan County

An Open Case

With his searching, he quickly found out that this woman was, in fact, from somewhere around the area. Now what he needed to do was find the right place to get the answers he needed. He quickly realized that there was an open case in Sullivan County that no one had done anything with in the past few years.

An Open Case

Looking For Answers

Was this going to be the missing piece to solving his mystery? When he found this file, he asked the detectives to get him more information, perhaps some living relatives or anything he could use to help him out. Unfortunately, there were none.

Looking for Answers

Looking For Answers

It All Came Together

The file he was looking at was quite old; it had been sitting there since 1975. There wasn’t a lot of information for him to use about this case, but somehow, it was exactly what he needed to see to put the missing piece together.

It All Came Together

New Information

Solomon decided it was a good idea to hand the case over to the detectives at the Sullivan County Police Department, where it was then assigned to Detective Rich Morgan. His biggest task at hand now was to find the connection between the two missing women. When he re-looked over the case files, he found some information that had previously been overlooked.

New Information

Connecting The Dots

They found her work identification card, which showed that she was employed at the Catskill Mountains. This was the same place that the other woman went missing. What are the odds of that? Was there a big connection here, or was it just a weird coincidence?

Connecting the Dots

Connecting The Dots

Fascinating News

36-year-old Florence “Flora” Stevens went missing in the summer of 1975. The information we have next is fascinating, and it’s crazy to believe that this is the way things turned out in this case.

Fascinating News

The Missing Woman

Sure enough, Detective Morgan solved the mystery that was placed on his office desk. As it turns out, the case of Flora Stevens and the case of the skeletal remains were connected, after all. The detective had no choice but to open an investigation on Flora Stevens.

The Missing Woman

The Missing Woman

Looked Far And Wide

The day that Flora went missing was a difficult day for her husband, as you can imagine. He searched everywhere he could for his wife, but she was nowhere to be found. He told her he would pick her up from the doctor after her appointment, but when he went to do so, she wasn’t there.

Looked Far And Wide

Another Dead End

From then on, a formal investigation was opened against Flora Stevens. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no information to find about her. Robert, her husband, passed away about a decade after she went missing, and she had no one else in her life to get information from. They were at another dead end, it seemed.

Another Dead End

How Would He Do It?

Detective Morgan knew that since she had no living relatives to speak to, his job would be that much more difficult. He didn’t know how he would prove that this was the same woman that Yan Solomon found, but he needed to think of something quickly.

How Would He Do It?

Her Social Security Number

He decided his next step was to sift through both the local and national databases, and what he found would blow his mind. He saw right there on his computer screen that there was someone out there currently using Flora Stevens’ social security number!

Her Social Security Number

Her Social Security Number

250 Miles From There

Luckily, the detective was able to track the social security number down to a town just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. We are sure you can imagine his surprise when he found out that someone was using Flora’s social security number at an assisted living home in Lowell, Massachusetts!

250 Miles From There

A Different Last Name

When Detective Morgan called the assisted living home, the staff informed him that the social security number was being used by a woman named Flora, but her last name was not Stevens, it was Harris. They told him that she had been living in the home since 2001.

250 Miles from There

A Different Last Name

Identity Fraud

Determined to solve this case once and for all, Detective Morgan drove up to Lowell with another detective in hopes of meeting Flora. When they arrived, they were both left speechless. They never expected a cold case like this to end how it did.

Identity Fraud

Identity Fraud

Possible Identity Theft

When Detective Morgan had the chance to speak to CBS Boston, this is what he had to say: “Same first name, different last name, but the same birth date and social security.” They knew that they needed to speak to this woman. Could this be a possible identity theft case?

Possible Identity Theft

Just Her Photograph

Just to be safe, the only personal item they took with them was the photo that was in her case folder; it was the same photo that was on her work ID when she was employed by the Catskill Mountains resort. When they arrived at the home, they sat down with Flora and introduced themselves, explaining who they were.

Found Her

Just Her Photograph

Found Her

Flora did something that shocked the detectives; she took the photo of herself right out of his hands. Detective Morgan explained, “She says that’s me, or me, she responded with one word, me.” That was shocking, but it was an even bigger deal when they showed her a photo of her late husband and she responded with, “Robert”.

Found Her

She Couldn’t Remember

Unfortunately, the detectives were unsuccessful in finding much information from Flora regarding what happened to her all those years ago. She was diagnosed with having dementia and is unable to recount what happened during the past 42 years.

She Couldn’t Remember

An Abusive Husband

Detective Morgan stated, “We really don’t know the circumstances of why or how she disappeared. She had psychiatric problems leading up to that point”. Though Flora doesn’t remember much, her caregiver, Mbuva, was able to recount some details. He explained that Flora told him all about her terrible marriage that she escaped from, including her abusive husband.

An Abusive Husband

Maybe She Ran

After hearing this bit of information, detectives were led to believe that Flora simply bought a one-way bus pass and skipped out on her terrible marriage. Detective Morgan reported, “Most of the secrets are locked inside of Flora, and I don’t think we’ll ever get them.”

Maybe She Ran

She Didn’t Want To Be Found

Flora’s caregiver over the last ten years, Festus Mbuva, says “To be honest, I don’t think she ever really wanted to be found. You can tell something happened in her past that she didn’t want any part of.”

She Didn’t Want To Be Found

She’s Safe

Apparently, Flora grew up in Yonkers, New York and one of her favorite lines to say to people was ‘none of your business’. Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty explained, “It’s a neat feeling [to find someone]. The main thing is we know that Flora is safe.”

She’s Safe

Solved But Unsolved

Sullivan County successfully closed this case after learning that Flora Stevens’ current name is Flora Harris. Sheriff Mike Schiff stated during an interview: “It is not too often that you get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case.”

Solved but Unsolved

Solved But Unsolved

 A Smile And Wave

After waiting and hoping for new information for the last 42 years, everyone finally had closure on what happened to Flora. Even though it, of course, was incredible that they found her in the first place, they only wished they’d have been able to gather more information on her. They left 78-year-old Flora beaming from ear to ear with a smile on her face as she watched them leave from her wheelchair pressed up against the window.

Luckily, detectives successfully found Flora healthy and happy after all those years. Would childhood sweethearts Matt and Laura be so lucky, though?

A Smile And Wave

From A Young Age

Matt and Laura met when they were just three years old attending pre-school together in Phoenix, Arizona, and quickly hit it off with one another and became close acquaintances. Neither of their parents thought much of the friendship but little did they know, their kids were about to become an inseparable pair.

From A Young Age

From A Young Age

The Early Days

Matt opened up during an interview with Today, “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around.” Little did either of them know at the time, but all that following would lead to something that would change the rest of their lives.

The Early Days

The Early Days

Safety Buddies

It wasn’t until a school field trip when the two really became closer than they had before. They were instructed to find a safety buddy and stick with them during the day, so naturally, Matt and Laura chose each other. Once they did, they didn’t let go of one another all day.

Safety Buddies

Silly Matt

After a while of getting to know each other’s personalities, Laura learned that Matt really cared about her and wanted to be her friend. Before they knew it, the two were best buds and were doing everything together, whether it was playing together on the playground or pretending to nap during the quiet time but really giving each other silly looks.

Silly Matt

Silly Matt

Not Just At Preschool

Both of the kids agreed that the time they were able to spend together in school was not nearly enough time for them, so soon enough, their parents started setting up playdates for them. They did fun things like play at each other’s houses, and sometimes their parents took them to see a movie.

Not Just At Preschool

Not Just At Preschool

Protecting Laura

During movies, Matt really showed how much he cared deeply for Laura. Whenever there was a movie scene that scared Laura, Matt grabbed her hand and made her feel safe again.

Protecting Laura

Protecting Laura

Impressing Laura

Matt’s all-time favorite Disney movie ever was The Lion King. While it’s pretty common for kids to go around bragging to their friends about how cool their parents are, Matt decided the way to Laura’s heart was for him to recite Lion King movie lines to her over and over.

Impressing Laura

Impressing Laura

The Teacher

There was no question about whether or not Laura was impressed with Matt’s Lion King knowledge, but at the end of the day, Matt was the one who was impressed by Laura’s skills. She taught him plenty of things that all kids need to know: how to draw rolling hills, how to eat string cheese properly, and how to get the ultimate height on the swings. Matt felt so lucky to have Laura as his best friend.

The Teacher

The Teacher

Winning Her Over

Matt found the best way to impress Laura during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at their pre-school. During a pinata game, Matt thought he was the strongest one in class and he really wanted to impress Laura, so he took the bat and attempted to whack the pinata. Surprisingly, he actually swung hard enough to crack it open!. Matt remembered that exact moment, “Fortunately, I was the kid who managed to do it and I assume it got her attention.”

Winning Her Over

Winning Her Over

Young Love

By the time the two youngsters were four years old, their parents were already referring to them as ‘love birds’. While a four-year-old may not completely be able to explain what these feelings mean, Matt knew one thing for sure: he didn’t want to hide his feelings for Laura from anyone in the world.

Young Love

Young Love

ADVERTISEMENT