In September, a woman walked into a downtown Toronto homeless shelter claiming that she had no recollection of who she was and where she was from. The only hint the mystery woman was able to provide was her name, Linda.
Toronto police said Tuesday that the woman has been identified as 56-year-old Linda Hegg from Newark, Delaware. Hegg was reported missing in the state early November, officials say.
Police say that Hegg was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1996, but the exact cause of her disappearance is unknown.
She has since returned to Delaware and is reportedly resting at a hospital with family at her side.
“She was relieved and she was happy to know she had somewhere to go and parents and family,” said Toronto police detective Roger Caracciolo. “I said to her ‘It’s time to go home,’ and she said ‘yeah’ and clapped her hands and smiled.”
Just how the woman managed to make it up to Toronto from Delaware remains a mystery. Hegg claimed to be suffering from amnesia when she first showed up at the homeless shelter in September and her memories still haven’t returned.
Shortly after returning in Delaware, the woman asked the hospital staff where she had been.
“They told her, ‘Well, you know, Linda, you were in Canada,’ and she paused and she said, ‘I like Canada. I’d like to visit there again,’” Detective Caracciolo said. “I don’t think she knew where she was.”
Finding the identity of the mystery woman was no easy task. It wasn’t until November 5, several weeks after she actually went missing, that the family was aware that she was gone, and investigators from several agencies tried to identify the woman to no avail.
On November 7, Newark police issued a press release about the missing woman which was then passed along to Toronto investigators by an unnamed web sleuth. On December 10, police finally identified her using DNA samples.
“Working together with all these agencies made it possible to get Linda home for the holidays,” Toronto police said in a statement.