He took her to a medical appointment she had that day. She had a bad cold, and the couple wanted to make sure everything was alright. He dropped her off and told her he would come back in an hour when she’d be finished.
As the hours went by, he waited for his wife to appear. But she never did. 42-year-old years later, a new clue and an old photograph would prove to be the keys to solving the mystery.
Florence “Flora” Stevens was last seen by her husband on the night of August 3, 1975. She was a 36-year-old woman who worked at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. She was always full of life and ready for adventure.
That night, she was feeling under the weather due to the flu and decided to go see a doctor. Her husband drove her to a doctor’s appointment in Monticello, New York. But, when he went to pick her up, she was nowhere to be found.
The whereabouts of Flora were. It was like she had vanished in thin air. A missing person case was opened and was in full force, with detectives searching for her and clues about her bizarre disappearance.
But the case eventually went cold as they could not figure out what happened to Flora no matter how much they tried. They would have never guessed the case would be reopened almost half a century later.
In 2017, Yan Salomon, a senior investigator with the New York State Police, had just stumbled upon something that might have given him answers to a case he didn’t even know existed. The remains of a woman had been found, and he was in desperate need of identifying the body.
His revelation made him grab his phone in a hurry.
Salomon called the sheriff’s office in Sullivan County; he needed to talk to a detective. The woman they had found the remains of had been buried near the Catskills. They had to discover who this woman was. But nearly 70,000 women over 18 go missing in the United States each year, so it’s no easy task.
It was going to be a difficult challenge to identify this woman. But they weren’t willing to give up, and they came up with a brilliant idea.
By January 2016, there were still 21,894 active cases of missing women throughout the U.S. Files that went cold and were put in storage. However, loved ones are still wondering what happened to these women.
Salomon knew he had a challenging task ahead. He would have to go through the thousands of open cases and find similarities to the woman they had found. This created a series of possible matching identities. Until one stood out.
He didn’t have much hope, but Salmon headed to Sullivan County and began his research.
He decided to simplify the investigation. He went on to do local searches that could pinpoint the woman’s identity. Due to their clues, he realized the woman they had found must have been from the area and began his quest for answers.
Sullivan County had an open case from years ago that matched the description. Could that be it? Would the case be closed? Salomon asked the investigators to see this woman’s case file to see if the missing woman had any living relatives.
The missing woman’s file was old. It was dated 1975, and the information attached to it was scarce. But something did click.
Solomon gave the case to the detectives in Sullivan County. Detective Rich Morgan was assigned to it, and his main task was to connect the two women somehow. While reading the file of the missing woman, they had come upon incredible new information. Her work ID was found.
Apparently, she had worked in the Catskill Mountains. And one day in 1975, a 36-years-old woman went missing in the nearby area and never reappeared. Her name was Flora Stevens. But that wasn’t the only incredible discovery.
Detective Morgan had managed to put together something. The woman they found was linked to the cold case in many ways. He then began to further investigate the life of Flora Stevens. When she went missing, her husband had actively been trying to find her. He had dropped her off at a medical appointment, but when he went to pick her up, she wasn’t there anymore.
From then on, her case was opened, but no breakthrough was made. Flora’s husband passed away ten years after she disappeared, and the case went cold – until now.
Detective Morgan had a pretty tough job on his hands. With no relatives and no one he could speak to about Flora, he did not know how to prove that this was the woman whose remains had been found.
He began looking through local and national databases and discovered one crucial clue – someone was using Flora Steven’s social security number in Massachusetts. Who could it be?
He tracked down the social security number to an assisted living facility north of Boston. He was disgusted. Someone had stolen a missing woman’s social security number and used it for who knows what.
Detective Morgan called the facility, and the staff there confirmed that the number belonged to a Flora, but her last name was not Stevens. It was Harris and had been in the facility since 2001. Who was that woman?
Detective Morgan and another investigator went to the place in question. They could not believe what they had found. A case that went cold so many years ago was unraveling before their eyes.
Admittedly, this meant something. The women shared the same first name, birth date, and social security but a different last name. They had to talk to this Flora. Was this an identity theft case?
The detectives went there with the only picture of Flora in the database, her old work ID she used while she was at the Catskill Mountains. They headed over to see Flora, and as they introduced themselves, she did something that left the detectives gasping.
Flora took the picture and pointed at it. She said that in the photo it was her. How could this be possible? But then, they showed her a picture of her husband, and she uttered the name “Robert.” They had found the missing woman.
Sadly, Flora couldn’t clear up the mystery surrounding her disappearance. She suffered from dementia and didn’t remember anything from the last 42 years.
Sullivan County had officially closed the case. They confirmed Flora Harris was indeed Flora Stevens. It is not too often that you get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case. But one must wonder what really happened to the woman so many years ago.