Nowhere In Sight
This man from upstate New York drove his wife to her doctor’s appointment and told her he would pick her up afterward. He came back after her appointment as they agreed. He waited on and on, but she did not show up. He could not help but worry when he heard what the receptionists told him. She was nowhere in sight, so where did she go?
Did something happen to her? A million emotions were running through his mind. Only 42 years later did detectives 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. She worked at a place 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. They were at a loss.
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.
The question was, what was this all about?
Turns out 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. He knew this was not going to be easy.
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. This was going to be a challenge.
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. Suddenly one case stood out from the others.
Welcome To Sullivan County
Even though it was a long shot, he also drove to Sullivan County. He decided to do 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.
Out of nowhere, 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 know, this would be a lost cause. She did not have any family members.
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. 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… Ominus right?
In 1975, Flora Stevens disappeared out of the blue. In just a few moments, you are going to learn something incredible about the case. Are you ready? Prepare yourself because 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 speculations.
Her Social Security Number
As he went through the local and national databases, he spotted something shocking. He found out that someone was using the social security number of Flora Steven all this time. So where was she?
250 Miles From There
The 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. turns out 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
This is what detective Morgan said to CBS Boston about it. “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? He could not believe what he was hearing.
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.” The missing woman was found.
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 decided to publicly close the case. They concluded that Flora Harris was Flora Stevens. Sheriff Mike Schiff said, “It is not too often that you get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case.”