Woman reported missing from NY in 1975 found in Lowell nursing home

LOWELL, Mass. — It's a missing person case that's been solved after 42 years.

Florence Stevens was 36-years-old when she went missing in New York on Aug. 3, 1975. Officials say her husband dropped her off for a doctor's appointment in Monticello, NY. When he came back to pick her up, she had vanished.

On Sept. 15, the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office in New York was contacted by a senior investigator with the New York State Police about the cold case. It was reopened when skeletal remains of a woman matching Stevens' description were found in upstate New York.

Detectives had located Stevens' missing person file and reviewed it to determine if any living relatives could provide DNA for a match.

While searching for family, detectives found someone using Stevens' social security number in Massachusetts. They tracked her down at the Care One Assisted Living Facility in Lowell.

The director of center told Boston 25 News that Florence - who now goes by Flora Harris - has been at the facility for more than 15 years.

On Oct. 24, detectives went to Lowell and interviewed her.

The 78-year-old, who has dementia, recognized an old photograph of herself.

"She looked at the ID and her face lit up and she said 'me!'," Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty said. She recognized it right away."

Police say she has previously spent time in New Hampshire and New York City, but because of her illness, the circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain unknown.

"Whenever you take a missing person's case, you always hope the outcome is positive," Undersherriff Chaboty said.