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Woman pronounced dead after missing since 2002, found alive in Florida

By Mason White 2:13 PM May 3, 2013
Brenda Heist 

By: Eva Fett
(Scroll down for video) A Pennsylvania woman who mysteriously disappeared 11 years ago was found in Florida.

The woman walked into a police station and told them who she was.

Police said the woman traveled there with a group of homeless people and she was sleeping under bridges in Key West Florida and she survived by panhandling.

Brenda Heist was going through a divorce in 2002, she was going through time, one day she just snapped, after dropping off her children age 8 and 12, to school. Heist went to a park where she befriended some homeless people. They invited her to join them as they began hitchhiking month-long trip to South Florida, Lititz Borough Police Detective John Schofield said.

Heist, 54, had been declared legally dead, said.

Detective Schofield said he met with Heist in Florida on Monday and she expressed shame and apologized for what he did to her family. Heist ex-husband Lee Heist, has asked the court in to declare her dead. She has been declared legally dead 2010 and her ex-husband collected her life insurance, he has since remarried.

In a press conference her ex-husband said he was angry about the effect of her disappearance had on his son and daughter. He said his children have expressed their desire to talk to their mother, but for now they are taking it slow. Heist will be staying with her mother in Texas.

Lee Heist was considered a suspect in her disappearance, but he has cooperated with investigators, and he took a polygraph and was finally cleared. “There were people in the neighborhood who do not allow their children to play with my kids, as I had been a suspect”, he said.

“This is an emotional time for the children, they thought their mother was killed only to learn that she actually left voluntarily, Hopefully they can reconnect and have their mother at their side for the rest of their lives” an emotional Donna Clark 52, of Lititz, Pennsylvania, told YourJewishNews.com about the story.

As for the life insurance policy that was paid to the ex-husband, he is unsure what will happen now.

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