Eleven years ago, Brenda Heist of central Pennsylvania vanished. She had dropped off her kids, then 8 and 12, at school. Dinner was defrosting. Laundry was half-done. And then she was gone without a trace. There was a long investigation. Her husband was considered a suspect at one point. Eventually, she was declared dead. Then last week, Heist walked up to police in South Florida and told them who she was. Not surprisingly, her children aren't ready to forgive her. From CBS News:
"Mom Brenda Heist resurfaces 11 years after abandoning kids"
It began when three strangers reached out to comfort (Heist) as she cried in despair in a park in 2002, then offered to let her accompany them. She took them up on it…
Heist decided to join the three strangers as they hitchhiked for a month along Interstate 95 on their way to South Florida. She told (Lititz Borough Police Detective John Schofield) she slept in tents and under bridges, survived by scavenging restaurant trash and panhandling, and kept her previous life a secret, contacting no one and using a pseudonym.
Now 54, Heist told police she spent seven years living with a man in a camper and working odd jobs, but more recently she was homeless again, living in a tent facility run by a social service agency.
"She said she was at the end of her rope, she was tired of running," Schofield said.