It was a typical day for the Stevens family. Robert dropped his wife Flora off at a doctor's appointment while he left to run errands. Little did he know that separating that day would lead to his wife's disappearance and a 42-year cold case.
The series of events that unfold, including the epic conclusion of the case, is almost too unbelievable to be true.
It Was A Normal Day Of Errands For The Stevens Family
Robert Stevens didn't think twice when he dropped his wife, Florence "Flora," off at the doctors for a routine checkup. It was a safe place, and she would have no issue being alone for an hour or so while he ran errands around town.
At least, that's what he thought.
Flora Was Not There When Robert Returned
Sadly, when Robert returned to pick his wife up from her appointment, she was nowhere to be seen. He waited around, thinking she might still be in with the doctor.
But after speaking to a receptionist, Robert was informed that his wife was nowhere in the office. She disappeared.
A 42-Year-Old Cold Case
What started off as a normal day with a to-do list and appointments would turn into a 42-year cold case of a missing person. Robert did not know what to do. He never thought something like this would happen to his family.
Horrible situations happened to other people, not them.
36-Years-Old And Missing
At the time of her disappearance, Flora was 36-years-old and wanton for adventure. She wouldn't randomly walk off on her own, and that's why Robert was so distraught to find her missing.
The date was August 3, 1975, and Robert couldn't help but think something horrible had happened to Flora. Maybe she was kidnapped right under the clinic's nose.
The Catskill Mountains Were Busy In The Summer
The summer was always a busy time in the Catskill Mountains in New York, full of laughter, parties, and families going for vacation. In 1975, Flora was front and center to the festivities, working at The Concord, a resort located in the mountains.
It was a popular place for tourists and locals alike. Perhaps someone from the resort took her?
They Started At The Beginning
The detectives on the case didn't want to jump to any conclusions and opted to start from the beginning. They learned that Flora went to school at Lincoln High School in New York.
Weirdly enough, it was really the only bit of information they could dig up. Aside from Robert, Flora had no family they could find.
There Were No Clues
Between her supposed kidnapping and the days that followed, the detectives on the case were stumped. They were coming up with zero clues or leads to help them locate Flora.
It wasn't just the detectives; Robert had no idea what could possibly have happened to his wife. Did she walk out the door and not look back? Or was she taken?
Technology Was Not On Their Side
Unfortunately, it was 1975, and the police force didn't have the technology to help locate a missing person as they do in the 21st century. They had to do a lot of heavy lifting and groundwork to find even the tiniest bread crumb of a lead.
With no cellphones to track and no family to question, the detectives were at a loss.
Days Turned Into Weeks And Then Months
Days searching for answers quickly turned into weeks and then months with nothing moving the case forward. The detectives were at a loss and had no idea what happened to Flora if she had been kidnapped or where she would have gone if she had run.
Eventually, the detective team decided to call the case, marking it as unsolved.
Things Finally Turned Around In 2017
Robert needed closure. So, he stopped looking for Flora and moved on with his life. It was his semblance of closure, even though he didn't know what happened to his wife that fated day.
After years of unanswered questions, Flora's case was reopened in 2017 with new evidence added to the pile.
New Evidence Was Discovered
In 2017, senior investigator Yan Salomon found something that very well could have been tied to Flora's case. He actually believed it was enough to reopen the missing woman's file and start searching again.
What he found was located in Flora's case file, and he couldn't believe the detail was originally overlooked.
The News Wouldn't Be Good...
Salomon was hesitant to break his findings to family; he wanted to look into everything and have his facts straight. He found the body of a woman, located in the Catskill Mountains near The Concord, the resort where Flora worked in 1975.
Sadly, identifying the body was easier said than done.
Around 70,000 Women Go Missing In The US Each Year
Salomon called the Sullivan County Sheriff's office, asking for a detective to help identify the body. He was all too eager to help Salomon in the investigation.
The thing is, around 70,000 women go missing in the United States each year. Identifying the body was not going to be a simple task.
There Was A Lot Of Work To Do
At the time Salomon was looking into missing women's reports, a solid 21,894 cases remained "active." He had his work cut out for him if he were to discover the identity of the body.
He was going to need a lot of patience while shifting through all of the paperwork.
Finally, They Found A Connection
Salomon thought his expertise would be of better use on the ground. So, he left his team to look through the open files as he made his way to Sullivan County.
Soon, he realized the woman he had found was from the area. Digging deeper, he and his team found an open case connected to the body.
It Was Not Flora
The body of the woman Salomon found was not Flora. And so, her case remained unsolved. But Salomon wasn't going to give up easily. While her original file did not have much to go off, he wasn't about to put it down and walk away.
There was still more to uncover.
Detective Richard Morgan Was Brought On
Salomon was taking too much time and using too much manpower on the case. Eventually, he was asked to hand it over to Detective Rich Morgan from the Sullivan County Police Department.
Detective Morgan took over and was tasked with connecting Flora's disappearance with the body found in the Catskill Mountains.
There Must Have Been An Overlooked Detail
Detective Morgan dove right into the case, knowing there must be a tiny detail they'd missed all of those years ago or even new information that would lead them straight to Flora.
It was just a matter of finding it in a timely fashion and not taking another few decades. Fate would have it that Detective Morgan would find his detail and find Flora in the most unlikely place.
He Found An ID Badge From The Concord
Finally, detective Morgan caught a break. He found an ID badge belonging to the lady Salomon found in the mountains. It revealed that she worked at The Concord, the same as Flora.
Not only that, but he also figured out that the two women went missing around the same time.
Something Horrible Happed In The Summer Of 1975
Without the technology they now possessed, Flora's file did nothing but collect dust from 1975 onward. It was time to finally bring her home. The thing was, they still didn't know where to find her.
All they knew was something horrible happened in the Catskill Mountains during the summer of 1975.
Once Again, No New Clues Were Discovered
If he wanted to crack the case, Detective Morgan had no choice but to keep digging into archived files, hoping something would jump out and give him a clue as to what happened to Flora all those years ago.
Unfortunately, days once again turned into weeks and then months, with no one on the team finding new clues to go off.
Robert Passed Away Ten Years After Flora's Disappearance
Detective Morgan thought it would be a good idea to interview Robert, Flora's husband, once again. Sadly, he learned Robert passed away just ten years after Flora's disappearance in 1975.
He never learned what happened to his wife, as he passed away before getting any answers or actual closure. As it turned out, it would wind up being a good thing.
Things Were Going Cold Until Morgan Thought Of Something
With no living relatives to talk to, Flora's missing person case went cold once again. Detective Morgan wasn't sure what steps to take next; they were at a dead end.
Thankfully, there was one thing Detective Morgan had that the investigators didn't all those years ago -- access to various databases.
It Was About Her Social Security Number
He went straight to the social security number database, hoping there would be a hit on Flora's personal number. Detective Morgan was able to search both the local and national databases, seeing if someone was actively using Flora's SSN.
To his surprise, he got a hit on her number.
It Was Almost Too Easy
At first, Detective Morgan thought it was too good to be true. Could it really be that easy? Did he just find Flora after 42 years? Or was it just some identity theft who was utilizing a missing woman's social security number for their own benefit?
There was only one way to find out -- travel to the SSN's destination.
She Was Over 200 Miles Away
Detective Morgan learned that the social security number was being used over 200 miles away, in the tiny town of Lowell, just north of Boston, Massachusetts. He knew the state and town but also the exact location, an assisted living facility.
Things just got a lot more interesting, and Detective Morgan didn't waste any time.
Everything Matched But The Last Name
Calling the facility, Detective Morgan learned that there was a woman named Flora, and she'd been there since 2001. But her last name was Harris and not Stevens.
With the same first name, social security number, and birthday, Detective Morgan wasn't taking any chances. He hopped into his car and drove to the facility to meet the woman face to face.
They Finally Found Her
Meeting Flora, Detective Morgan was amazed at her answers to his questions. While she didn't remember much of 1975, a result of her dementia, Flora did recognize a picture of her younger self the detective brought into the meeting.
Not only that, but she was able to point out her former husband in a picture as well. After 42 years, they finally found Flora Stevens.
Sadly, She Couldn't Fill In The Blanks
While the detectives were thrilled to have found the missing woman, they still didn't have answers. They had no idea what happened to her that fateful summer day in 1975 or why she decided to change her last name.
All they could do was speculate and hypothesize about the circumstances.
Flora Didn't Want To Be Found
One of the theories was Flora ran away due to psychiatric issues. Another was that she was in a bad relationship with Robert, and abuse led her to turn away from her life, buy a bus ticket, and never look back.
According to Flora's longtime caregiver Mbuva, the only piece of the puzzle she understood was the once-missing woman didn't want to be found. All that mattered was after 42 years; the case could be put to rest.