In 1994, a well-dressed elderly woman was found wandering around a New Jersey mall. Only 15 years later, a local police officer’s crusade to discover her identity has paid off. The woman, who just until a week ago was only known as Jane Doe, turned out to be Elba Leonor Díaz, a Colombian 74-year-old immigrant who struggled in the U.S. for years as a single mother to gain enough money for her and her daughter.
Lt. Eduardo Ojeda picked up the woman in the Woodbridge Center mall where she was found wondering and unable to speak. The officer took her to the New Jersey psychiatric hospital where she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her daughter said when she was contacted after Díaz was finally identified that she had lost contact with her a long time ago. It was thanks to the efforts of Ojeda who never gave up trying to find her identity and to several tips from the public and Colombian officials that Elba Leonor Díaz can now return to her family.