Mom Missing Since 2002, Declared Dead 2010, Found Alive

A Pennsylvania mom missing since 2002, and declared dead in 2010, has been found alive in Florida. Brenda Heist, age 53, took her children to school 11 years ago and vanished. Her entire family thought she was dead.

Expressing remorse for her actions, Brenda turned herself in to authorities in Florida. Lititz Borough Detective John Schofield traveled to Florida to interview Heist about the last 11 years.

As reported by Fox News, Brenda stated that, after dropping her children off at school, she went to a local park. Facing a pending divorce, and a possible move, Brenda was devastated and weeping.

A group of strangers reportedly approached Brenda and suggested that she join them as they hitchhiked south. Brenda joined them on a whim and never returned home.

Lee Heist, Brenda’s husband, and her children were incredibly worried. Authorities found Brenda’s abandoned car, and none of her belongings were missing. She simply vanished.

As reported by Lancaster Online, Pennsylvania authorities suspected Lee was responsible for his wife’s disappearance.

Eight years after she went missing, Brenda was declared legally dead in 2010. Her entire family had given up hope of ever finding her alive.

Detective John Schofield states that after spending seven years living in a mobile home, Brenda ended up homeless on the streets. Most recently she was reportedly living in a “tent community.”

Brenda says she turned herself into Key Largo police as she was finally “tired of running.” She had several outstanding warrants, but the most interesting thing she discussed with police was the fact that she had been reported missing 11 years ago.

When Lee and his children received the news, they were stunned. Brenda has expressed interest in meeting with her estranged family, but they have asked for time to absorb the news.

Brenda’s children were 8 and 11 years old when she vanished. They are now adults.

Lee says he does harbor some anger toward his former wife, for what their children have been through. Their mother vanished in 2002, was declared dead in 2010, and has now been found alive. That would be a lot for anyone to absorb.