Officers discovered the lost, disoriented woman on Tuesday, sitting on a bench in Norwood, New Jersey, according to police.
But the woman was a complete and utter mystery: She didn’t know her name or much about who she was. Beyond entering her into missing person and law enforcement databases, officers weren’t sure how to figure it out, either.
The woman said she had been in a car accident in Washington state a year earlier, and since then had been wandering to the East Coast from the West Coast, New Jersey State Police said Thursday. She also told authorities she was a veteran who might have served in Bosnia.
“She wasn’t giving us the full story,” said Norwood Police Chief Jeffrey Krapels, NBC reports. “She didn’t remember her name, she didn’t know where she is, and when she does talk, she just talks about her service in various wars.”
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Norwood police took to Facebook on Tuesday, posting a picture of the woman and asking for the public’s help in solving the mystery.
“Please share this photo and maybe we can get her home,” the post said.
Within days, it worked: The woman’s daughters — one in Nebraska, the other in Philadelphia — called police around 4 p.m. on Thursday to report that the woman was their mother, who had gone missing six months earlier, NBC reported.
Police said in a Facebook post Thursday that her identity has now been confirmed.
The police department thanked the community and “all the concerned citizens that gave us leads and information to get this person back to her family.” The department commented on the post confirming that the family members identified the woman through the Facebook post and accompanying picture. The original post about the lost woman was shared more than 51,000 times.
Police said the woman’s husband lives in Arizona, and that she was raised in Philadelphia, NBC reports. The woman’s daughters now plan to fly to New Jersey and get her.
New Jersey authorities aren’t sure if the woman had been living in the area before she was found there, the Northern Valley Daily Voice reports.