Woman found 42 years after vanishing

LOWELL, Mass. (CBSNewYork) — A woman who vanished more than 40 years ago in the Castkills has been found.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Flora Stevens was 36 and was working for the Concord Hotel, when her husband dropped her off at a doctor’s appointment at Community General Hospital, then in Monticello.

When he went back to pick her up, she was gone. That was 1975.

Forty-two years later, investigators were trying to identify skeletal remains found in Orange County, which roughly fit Stevens’ profile. But upon investigating further, Sullvian County Sheriff’s Detective Rich Morgan discovered someone was using Stevens’ Social Security number at an assisted living home in Lowell, Massachusetts.

“So we sent detectives up there to interview that person,” said Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty. Chaboty said his officers found Flora Harris, now 78.

She has dementia, and she could not say where she had been or how she got a different last name. But when she saw her old employee ID, Chaboty said, “She said, ‘Me!’ She recognized it right away.”

Harris is no longer a missing person, but it is a mystery that might never be solved. Investigators said her medical records go back about 30 years, but are sketchy earlier than that.

They were only able to determine that she spent time previously at a nursing home in New Hampshire, and at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital – now Mount Sinai West – in New York City.

Harris’ husband died 30 years ago, and the detectives have not found any other relatives.

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