This man from upstate New York drove his wife to her doctor’s appointment and told her he will pick her up afterward. As promised, he came back for her at the end of the appointment. He could not help but worry when he heard what the receptionists told him. She was nowhere in sight, so where did she go?
Nowhere In Sight
He returned for her as per their agreement. He waited on and on, but she did not show up. Where was she? Did something happen to her? It was only 42 years later that they shed some light on the mystery.
Nothing More Than A Cold
He took his wife to her appointment earlier in the day, but nothing unusual happened that he could remember. The only issue was that she had a bad cold. He took her to the clinic and promised to come back in an hour or so.
The woman we are talking about is none other than Florence “Flora” Stevens. Her spouse last saw her on the 3rd of August 1975. Then 36 years old, she was full of life and adventure. Where did she go?
A Resort In The Catskills
She had been working at a resort in the Catskills during the summer of 1975. Her place of employment was called The Concord, which was a lavish 1,200-room resort. The venue was a big hit among tourists.
The detectives learned that she attended Lincoln High School in New York thanks to her job application. They did not have lots of information on her, but we do know that her husband was Robert Stevens.
Opening The Case
Not one of them had any idea what could possibly have happened. An investigation ensued, and many people helped with the search. They were all puzzled by the sudden disappearance of this woman. They knew her as a nice lady, so this was previously unthinkable.
The End Of The Road
They did not have clues to help them crack the case open. She did not have any living relatives that they knew about, so it was hard to figure out where she was born and raised. It seemed hopeless back then.
No One Could Have Known
Unfortunately, the tracks went cold. No one could come up with an explanation for her disappearance. Not one of them had an idea that this case would be resolved almost half a century after it happened.
Senior Investigator Yan Salomon
It was in 2017 that Yan Salomon, a senior investigator from the New York State Police, learned an interesting thing that helped clear a few things up about this strange case. What was this all about?
Yup, it had something to do with the disappearance of Florence “Flora” Stevens. Did he really find her? What was she doing all this time? Did she get hurt? There were a lot of questions going through the minds of the people who followed this case.
It was not all good news. Yan Salomon did find a woman, that part is undeniably true. However, she was not alive. Why? Well, he found human skeletal remains! He first had to figure out who she could be.
Make Some Calls
The next thing he had to do was to get the phone and start making calls. He first called the sheriff’s office at Sullivan County and asked to talk to a detective. He told them that he found the skeletal remains of a woman in the Catskills area but needed help to identify who it was.
In the United States, 70,000 female adults go missing each year. It was going to be tough to solve something like this by himself. He was aware of this and knew the best way to get around this.
Information At Their Disposal
There were 21,894 cases of missing women that were considered active across the United States as of January 2016. They kept these records in storage, so they could access this information.
Looking For Her
Salomon knew that this was not going to be easy, so he made sure to create a team to help him check as many open cases as possible. The members were meant to look for any similarities to the remains.
Welcome To Sullivan County
Even though it was a long shot, he also drove to Sullivan County and tried to do some research of his own. He wanted to make it a little easier by doing these local searches. Salomon hoped that this was going to make it simpler to find the woman.
An Open Case
Using his deduction skills, Salomon knew that the woman likely came from this area. He just had to go dig a little deeper to find the answers he was looking for. They found an open case in the Sullivan County area that looked like it matched his findings!
Looking For Answers
Could this be what he was waiting for? He asked the detectives to check for any living relatives of the missing woman in the case they found. As we already know, they would not find any of those.
It All Came Together
The file on this missing woman had been gathering dust in there for a long time. The case was opened in 1975 and did not give them a lot of information. Despite this, he knew that they were onto something.
Salomon chose to defer the case to the Sullivan County detectives. It went under the control of Det. Rich Morgan. He was the one who had to look for a way to connect the two women. After a while, he managed to find a new piece of information. What could it be?
Connecting The Dots
They managed to find her work ID! It revealed that she had been working at the Catskill Mountains at the time of the disappearance. This was also where Salomon found the remains of another woman…
In 1975, Flora Stevens disappeared out of the blue. You are going to learn something incredible about the case, so we hope you are ready to hear it! Trust us, your jaw will hit the floor.
The Missing Woman
Detective Morgan could tell that they were onto something big here. Was there really a connection between the missing woman and the dead one? He decided to dig deeper into the case of Flora Stevens.
Looked Far And Wide
When Flora basically vanished into thin air, her husband worked hard to look for her. He simply dropped her off for her appointment with the doctor, so how come she never returned after that moment?
Another Dead End
After this, the husband reported her missing and an investigation began. They did not find anything relevant to the case. Her husband also died a decade after this. It was one dead end after the other.
How Would He Do It?
Det. Morgan was aware that things were not going to be easy for them. For one thing, they did not find any relative who they could talk to about this woman. He did not know how he could prove their hunch.
Her Social Security Number
As he went through the local and national databases, he spotted something shocking. Are you ready to hear this? He found out that someone was using the social security number of Flora Steven all this time!
250 Miles From There
This detective was able to track it down to a town north of Boston. He could not believe that there was a person using this missing person’s social security number. Even better, it was at an assisted living facility.
A Different Last Name
He gave the place a call. He talked to the staff, who revealed to him that the record went to a woman called Flora. However, her last name was not Stevens but Harris. She had been living there since 2001.
What was going on? Det. Morgan went to the facility with a colleague to figure that out. They were shocked by what they learned. As you can see, this cold case took them in a new direction altogether!
Possible Identity Theft
What did Det. Morgan had to say to CBS Boston about it? He said, “Same first name, different last name, but same birth date and social security.” They had to speak to this lady. Was this an identity theft case?
Just Her Photograph
They wanted to figure things out, so they brought the sole photo of the missing woman that they found in the database. It was the photo that came with her work ID during the time she worked at the Catskill Mountains. The detectives drove up to the facility to talk to her.
They spoke to her, but what she did to the photo shocked them. She took it and pointed at it. Det. Morgan said, “She says that’s me, or me, she responded with one word, me.” It was even more telling when they showed her a photo of the husband. They knew it was the real deal when she said, “Robert.”
She Couldn’t Remember
Sadly, they were unable to get answers from her when it came to the facts of the disappearance. She suffers from dementia. This was the reason she could not tell them what happened all those years ago.
An Abusive Husband
Det. Morgan said, “We really don’t know the circumstances of why or how she disappeared. She had psychiatric problems leading up to that point”. Mbuva, her caregiver, was able to gather a few things about her old life. According to him, she had a bad marriage and an abusive husband a long time ago.
Maybe She Ran
A lot of detectives believe that she simply got a bus ticket and left town to get away from her husband. “Most of the secrets are locked inside of Flora, and I don’t think we’ll ever get them,” said Det. Morgan.
She Didn’t Want To Be Found
Mbuva has been caring for her for a long time now. He said, “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 grew up in Yonkers and says ‘none of your business’ a lot. Eric Chaboty, the Undersheriff of Sullivan County, said, “It’s a neat feeling [to find someone]. The main thing is we know that Flora is safe.”
Solved But Unsolved
Sullivan County was able to solve a cold case! They did so when they verified that she was Flora Harris. Sheriff Mike Schiff said, “It is not too often that you get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case.”
A Smile And Wave
It took them 42 years, but everyone finally got closure and a happy ending. We are glad to hear that she is safe and sound, but we sure wish the questions would be answered. When they left the facility, the older woman smiled and waved at them from the comfort of her wheelchair. They were glad to find her after such a long time, but let us find out if childhood sweethearts Laura and Matt would reunite again…
Thankfully the authorities ended up finding Flora, but would pre-school sweethearts Matt and Laura ever be reunited after so many years apart? Only time would tell…
From A Young Age
This couple first met nearly 25 years ago. The two of them had been 3-year-old preschool students in Phoenix, Arizona back then. Matt saw Laura on the playground and made friends with her right away. No one expected these two little kids to become so inseparable!
The Early Days
When he spoke to Today, he admitted, “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around.” This would later lead to something incredible!
They got even closer when they went on a school trip. All of the children had to team up with another kid in the class to be “safety buddies.” These two found each other and stayed close the whole time.
Not long after that, Laura saw that Matt was a warm and kind-hearted boy who wanted to be a friend of hers. Soon enough, the two of them were best friends and did everything together. Not only did they play hide ‘n’ seek, but they also stayed awake together when it was nap time.
Not Just At Preschool
The time they spent at the preschool was not enough for these two kids. Their parents learned just how close they are and made playdates for them! One thing they liked to do was to go to the movies.
In fact, you should know that Matt was able to show just how much he cared for her when they went to the movies. He often held her hand when the film would show something scary!
One of his favorite movies would be The Lion King. Many kids liked to brag about their mom or dad, but he to impress his pal by doing something else. He liked to recite the lines from this movie!
We do not doubt that he managed to impress her with his recital skills. However, it was him who was even more impressed with her. She taught him how to use the swings, draw rolling hills, and eat string cheese! Matt could not believe just how brilliant his best friend was. He learned a lot of things from her.
Winning Her Over
At the preschool’s celebration of Cinco De Mayo, he was able to impress her once more. When everyone was trying to break the pinata open, he gave it his best shot and swung as hard as he could. He cracked open! He later said, “Fortunately, I was the kid who managed to do it and I assume it got her attention.”
By the time they were four years old, Laura and Matt were already “love birds.” Matt might have only been four years old at the time, but he could not hold back his feelings for her any longer!
Declaring His Love
As a matter of fact, he even went ahead and told the whole class how he was going to marry Laura in the future. They thought it was funny but he told them, “Just you wait!”
They stuck by each other day after day. They spent their birthdays together. You might even say they were joined at the hip! They would go to each other’s house and go on many adventures together. But were things going to stay the same for them now that these two kids were going to start kindergarten?
Fearing The Future
There were a lot of things to worry about when Laura and Mat realized that preschool was now over. For one thing, it was possible that they would go to different classes. This was not something that they liked. They realized that they might no longer be together in the future and feared this possibility!
It was sad to hear that their worst fear came true after that. They did not just get placed in different classes, but they also went to different schools. It was not the choice of their parents either. The region decided where they would enroll. Their folks promised to set them up on playdates every now and then.
Their parents stayed true to their word. The kids met up on weekends and spent time together. They had a lot of things to talk about now that they had new friends and new experiences. Their lives were starting to drift away from one another.
Sadly, these weekly visits would start to happen less and less. As they got older, the playdates no longer happened as frequently as it used to. The photo below shows Laura and Mat enjoying each other’s company on Christmas day. After some time, the holiday would be the only time they stayed in touch.
As time went on, the two of them would only contact each other through annual Christmas cards. With the lack of contact, it was hard to believe that they used to see each other every single day. Of course, they had new friends now that they were older. However, the bond they had was still very special.
Time continued to tick. After a few years, the Christmas cards did not get very sentimental anymore. Aside from that, they no longer arrived frequently. It was no one’s fault, of course. The kids were just growing up and, sadly, drifting apart. They had a great time in the past but had to focus on the present.
High school felt like a completely different world from kindergarten, and this is even more true for preschool. We doubt you are surprised to hear that they did not think of each other all that often anymore. However, one fateful day changed everything for them.
Laura had been a freshman when she scrolled through the phone her friend owned. She was surprised to see a name that she knew all too well. She could not believe what she was seeing!
Can you just imagine how surprised she must have been after reading “Matt Grodsky” again? She could not believe that she was looking at the name of her childhood sweetheart on the screen of this phone. All of a sudden, the memories flooded in. Meanwhile, her friend did not know why she reacted like that!
A Different Plan
When she finally caught her breath again, she told her pal about the time she and Matt spent all those years ago. Her pal explained that they knew each other from middle school. Laura tried to forget about it, but her friend could not help but feel intrigued by this new piece of information.
Setting Them Up
Her friend was impressed by the story of her two friends, so she wanted them to see each other once again. Laura could not help but hesitate, and we can see why. They had not been in touch for quite some time already. Matt did not know anything about her at this point. There was no way they could just go back to being little kids again.
As they talked about her first love, Laura was not sure that she wanted to have a boyfriend just yet. She told People this: “I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!’” Aside from that, she felt nervous about what her friend planned. In the end, she agreed to give her number to Matt.
When he received her number, he wanted to text her right away. He sent her a text but felt unsure how she would react to it. When she responded, he could tell that everything was going to go well.
When Matt first saw her again, he immediately noticed how infectious her smile was. He was always fond of that look in the past. The young man later explained, “She always had a huge smile.”
The First Date
It did not take long before they agreed to go to a movie together. This was just like the old times! For Matt, it felt like love at first sight all over again. They got along so well like they used to a long time ago.
Like Old Times
Their first date went very well. Not long after it happened, they began to go out as proper boyfriend and girlfriend. At this point, they also had their driver’s license, so it was easier for them to meet up and see each other even if they did not go to high school together. Aside from this, they also went to school dances and other functions together!
College Coming Up
Even though they had already been separated before, it was a different matter when they graduated from college. They clearly wanted to remain in the relationship, but it was going to be hard. After all, they planned to attend different schools in different states. Can they handle the long distance? “Right after we graduated from high school, we were pretty hesitant,” she explained to People. “We were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?’”
Despite this, they did not want the other not to enjoy their college experience. Matt planned to move to Chicago to go to Columbia College. On the other hand, Laura planned to attend Northern Arizona University, which was 1,600 miles away. Still, they were willing to give this arrangement a shot.
Staying In Touch
They knew that it was not going to be easy, but they did not want to lose the love of their lives a second time. Even though they were so far away from each other, they always spoke on Facetime each day. Aside from this, they would visit the other as much as they could. Clearly, they were determined to make the relationship work no matter what happened!
They were glad that social media made it possible to stay updated on what the other was up to. Despite all of these things, they still sorely missed each other. At one point, they did not meet up for six months. Matt knew that he could not live like this for much longer.
The Perfect Throwback
Before the two of them knew it, they were about to graduate from college. Matt planned a unique date just for them. He created a picnic platter and chose their preschool as the venue! It was meant to be a surprise for her. However, this was not the end of the surprise he had for her.
A Secret Plan
“I convinced Laura that we were going to a picnic at the preschool. We had just finished up our junior year of college, so I framed it as a nice relaxing date,” he explained the idea. They had already been together for a couple of years by then. Laura had no idea that Matt had one more surprise for her.
Back To Their Roots
Laura was touched when she found out that they were headed for their old preschool. She thought that it was romantic and thoughtful of him to plan this picnic. After all, it was where they first met!
Matt’s Strange Behavior
On their way to the preschool, Laura saw that he was behaving rather fidgety. She thought that he just felt nervous about this secret date he cooked up. However, she saw that he was still acting pretty nervously by the time they arrived. This made her a little on edge as well.
The Big Move
Just as she began to realize that this was not just a regular picnic, Matt went down on his knee and grabbed her hand. The young man looked her in the eye and brought out a ring. He told her, “Will you marry me?” Laura was shocked, but she gave him her answer right away: “‘YES!’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this happening?’ I saw the ring and was like, ‘This is gorgeous. I’m so happy with it.’ I had no idea!”
He was not only nervous because he was about to pull off a proposal, but he was worried about the ring as well: “I kept checking my pocket when she wasn’t looking to make sure the ring was still there.”
The proposal happened on the 23rd of May 2015. However, he had been drawing up this plan for months before it actually took place. Before he did this, he also talked to Laura’s father to ask for his blessing.
Going All Out
He went out to buy the ring and even asked his brother to record the big moment with a video camera. The truth was that Matt’s brother had been hiding in the bushes the whole time!
The Picnic Basket
He borrowed the picnic basket from his folks. However, it was not a regular basket either. In fact, this was the same picnic basket that his dad used when he proposed to her mother. Isn’t that special?!
A Special Place
Laura and Matt had been in the same place where he once proclaimed just how much he loved her. In those days, their classmates merely laughed at him. We bet they regretted it now that he made his promise come true. “I proposed to her at the place it all began… our preschool classroom,” he explained to the Huffington Post. “When you like someone, you just kind of stand up and say it.”
Tying The Knot
When was the big day? It happened on the 30th of December 2016. We know that his favorite movie is Lion King, so it was only right that their first dance was to “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.”
Their friends and family watched them dance to this song and more at the Arizona Historical Society. Matt’s uncle came up with the right way to describe their romance: “For most kids in preschool, it’s about finding your snacks and your sleeping mats, but for them it was about finding their soulmates.”
For Social Media
Like other millennials, the two of them decided to share their special day on social media. They took to Instagram and Facebook to post their photos and share them with their loved ones. However, the photos and story would go even farther than just their circle!
Laura’s Dad Speaks Out
At the wedding ceremony, her father decided to talk about the story behind their decision to adopt Laura from an orphanage located in India. Her father and mother had a great story to tell, you see.
Their Own Long Distance Relationship
Her father had been doing a tour of India and lived there for about a year. At the time, he was in a relationship with the woman who would become Laura’s mother. Eventually, she started working at the American embassy in India. At last, they finally got to be together!
Visiting The Orphanage
The two of them, of course, got married later on. Her mother let her husband know about some orphanage that housed a lot of children who did not have anywhere to go. They dropped by to visit the babies. The wedding guests were intrigued as he told this very intimate story.
While there were many children in a number of rooms, they wanted to see the babies. It was there that they found Laura. They noticed that this little girl had drips in her arms and tubes through her nose. The nurses then told them that this baby had been dealing with double pneumonia.
Not Leaving Without Her
While her parents were already determined to adopt her, there was a policy that the agency employed about which babies would get adopted and by whom. Regardless, this couple did not plan to be deterred in their plan to bring this baby home with them.
A Different Place
Her dad realized that it was time for them to take a different route, even if it was going to be risky. Their efforts paid off in the paid. He had also been working at the American embassy by then. This gave him the means to ‘bribe’ the agency employees with products from the States.
Back To Now
It was these events that brought Matt and Laura together in the end. At the wedding ceremony, his uncle had some pieces of wisdom to impart as well: “Love is not one moment, not even this moment – it’s every moment.”
Dancing For Love
Their love story was completely theirs, of course, but others also took part in this. When everyone joined the couple on the dancefloor, they could not help but see how perfect the moment was. “Our favorite part of the wedding was the dancing and having everyone we love there to celebrate with us,” Matt and Laura explained. “We tore it up on the dance floor and it was great being surrounded by everyone who played a part in bringing us together.”
They got to have their dream wedding and then flew off to Maui to enjoy their honeymoon. We are happy to hear that their story went from fairytale to paradise! However, it was not the end of the story.
The Way We Met
Laura was eager to share their story with everyone else, so this was what she did. She grabbed an old photo of theirs and added a recent photo beside it for “The Way We Met”, which is an Instagram account that shares romance stories. We are not surprised to hear that their story became a big hit.
A Big Hit
Everyone saw that they had a unique story to tell, but Laura and Matt were surprised to see it go viral. How did he feel about her? “I was enamored with Laura as a child, and I still am to this day,” he said.
Mind you, the story did not only reach “a few people.” No, it became a hit among readers from other parts of the globe as well. The Instagram post started out with 30,000 likes and nearly a thousand comments. Can you believe that it went on to get 400,000 reactions later on?! Various media outlets got wind of the story as well and wanted to speak to these newlyweds.
Social Media’s Feelings
We know that the story sounds like it came from the movies, but this sort of thing actually happens in real life. There are even people just like them out there! We know how impressive this sounds. Aside from that, people also started to share the way they lost contact with their own childhood sweethearts.
More Than They Thought
Their influence did not only stop at simple nostalgia either. Interracial couples heard about the story and wanted to talk about what they felt about their relationship. Similar pairs stepped forward to tell Laura and Matt about how they motivated them to stay strong and resilient at all times.
The story was heard by a lot of people. In fact, even celebrities like Tyrese Gibson of Fast and the Furious heard about it. He was warmed by the relationship between these two and felt impressed by the way they did not give up on each other. The actor wanted to do something about it as well.
Treating The Couple
Tyrese Gibson has always said that he was a big fan of love stories. This one must be in the running for the greatest one he has ever heard! He got in touch with Laura and Matt to speak to them personally. After that, he offered the couple a 3-day holiday in Florida. Reports say they plan to take him up on it!
The Grodskys’ Future
The two of them now live in the same town. More importantly, they live under one roof in Arizona! They have their whole lives ahead of them. It has been two years since they got married. Matt is now busy as an account executive for a digital marketing agency, whereas Laura works with a non-profit organization to help kids in the foster system. They also bought a house together.
They have also decided to take the next step and become parents but not to human children. They are the loving parents of a lovely little pup that they call Kirby. Do they want kids of their own?
People wanted to know if the couple planned to have kids in the future. What did they say to that? “We would love to have kids at some point. Right now we are focused on our new puppy Kirby and our new house.”
What A Journey
For these two, their love has been a great journey. They fell in love when they were both very young. After that, they were separated for 8 years. In the end, they found their way back to each other. They are clearly grateful that they have each other. “The best thing about our relationship is we are just silly and we appreciate each other every day,” they explained. “Having gone through a long distance relationship, you learn really quick how much the other person means to you and we value our time.”
The Best In Each-Other
The two of them have known each other their entire lives, so we bet they have a hard time picking their favorite thing about each other. “My favorite thing about Matt is his humor, he always makes me happy and he is the most driven person I know,” Laura said, “He is always moving forward.” Meanwhile, he said, “My favorite thing about Laura is her infectious smile and her desire to help those who are less fortunate. She is a force for good and it’s inspiring to be around her every day.”
The Moment They’d Been Waiting For
There are moments when they look back on the day of their wedding and wonder. It seems like they never left each other’s hearts for even one moment. Getting married was special, but this was not all.
A Wedding To Look Back On
The girl who catches the bouquet of flowers is said to be the one who is getting married next. There are times when the girls fought over the flowers, but everyone was in high spirits during the big day!
Celebrating Their Love
For Laura and Matt, every single day is a celebration. It was not only that they got married and plan to spend the rest of their days together. It is deeper than this. They are clearly each other’s soulmates. We are happy to hear that true love prevailed in the end for the two childhood sweethearts!
One Small Step
It was actually just the beginning for Matt and Laura. Even though their new lives started off with a bang, they still have a lot of things to achieve together. We are sure that they will go on to do great things. They got off to a great start, but the rest of the story is just as beautiful!