New Jersey woman identified after fifteen years in psychiatric home
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The 74-year-old woman, who has been staying at a Hunterdon County psychiatric hospital since she was found wandering lost and disoriented in Woodbridge Township in 1994, has been identified as Elba Leonor Diaz Soccarras.
The state New Jersey Department of Human Services Police has been searching for the identity of Soccarras for years. She was found well-dressed and clean, but alone and with no memory, at the Woodbridge Center mall in Middlesex County with no identification in her purse.
After receiving multiple tips in response to newspaper stories about the woman, Human Services Police Lt. Eduardo Ojeda said the department was able to slowly piece together fragments of information until her identity was confirmed.
Police have still not determined how she ended up at the mall alone or why nobody reported her missing. Authorities will later determine whether a criminal investigation is necessary.
According to The Star-Ledger, Soccarras has said the name "Elba Leonor Soccarras" during her brief stint at the Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital, but no records of the name could then be found, and Malboro officials could not be sure it was her real name due to her deteriorating condition.
Soccarras previously worked at various factories making dolls, dresses, and blouses. She never married, and had one daughter, who refused to comment to media outlets.
In the late 1980s, her health began to decline and she was evicted from her home, and began frequently wandering the streets and other locations, the Star-Ledger reported.