PA Woman Who Disappeared Mysteriously in 2002 Has Turned Up in Florida

In 2002, a Lancaster County woman named Brenda Heist dropped her two kids off at school and then went to a park, where she sat down on a bench and cried. Distraught over financial troubles resulting from a pending divorce, she accepted an offer from three complete strangers to hitchhike to South Florida. And that’s where she stayed for the past eleven years, living under bridges, in shelters, and with a man in his Key West camper. Yesterday she resurfaced, three years after being declared legally dead.

Brenda Heist: Before and After

Lititz Borough Detective John Schofield said she turned herself into Key Largo police in Florida on Friday, prompting him to meet with her earlier this week. “She said she was at the end of her rope, she was tired of running,” Schofield said. Whether her ex-husband and children are ready to accept her back into their lives is another question. “There were people in the neighborhood who would not allow their children to play with my children” said Lee Heist, who was once suspected of having killed Brenda. Their 19-year-old daughter is a sophomore at West Chester University and her son, 23, who’s seeking a carrer in law enforcement, graduated from there too. [6 ABC]