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Woman Declared Dead in 2010 Found Alive in Florida

Woman declared dead after disappearing in 2002 found alive and well.

(WGAL)  A Pennsylvania woman who disappeared in 2002 and was declared legally dead in 2010 has been found alive in Florida, according to police.

Brenda Heist, 53, was reported missing by her husband, Lee, on Feb. 8, 2002, and had been last seen that morning dropping off her two children at school, police said. Heist's car was found a few days later with no apparent sign of a struggle. 

Investigators said they received a call on Friday evening that Heist had turned herself in at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Key Largo. A Lititz Borough detective interviewed Heist in Florida and learned that she had left town to join a group of homeless people who were hitch hiking to Florida, police said.

In Florida, Heist mostly lived as a homeless person, sleeping under bridges and tents, sometimes in a trailer, and eating food that was thrown out at fast food restaurants, police said. She sometimes worked odd jobs cleaning boats.

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