Mysterious woman 'Linda' happy to go home: Toronto police
Woman known only as "Linda" now identified, Linda Hegg, 56, of Newark, New Jersey
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 8:34AM EST
A woman who spent months in a Toronto homeless shelter with no memory of who she was or where she came from has finally been returned to her Delaware home.
More details are emerging about Linda Hegg, who spent over three months in a homeless shelter as investigators worked to determine her name and origins before police publically identified her Tuesday.
Hegg had wandered into a downtown shelter in September with nothing more than a bag filled with shredded paper and a $20-bill. All she was able to remember about herself was that her first name was Linda.
But the mysterious case of “Linda” came to an end Tuesday, after police confirmed her identity as a 56-year-old woman believed to have gone missing from Newark, Del., in early November.
Det. Roger Caracciolo shared more details of Hegg’s life with CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday morning.
“She’s very well-travelled. She’s 56-years-old. She’s lived all across the U.S. She’s a graduate of linguistics and languages from Rochester University,” he said.
Hegg is also a navy veteran who has been stationed in Okinawa, Japan. “Unfortunately in 1996 she was diagnosed with schizophrenia,” said Caracciolo.
The case was solved after an intensive three-month investigation that Caracciolo called “long and arduous.”
It started with meeting her, press releases and a call for the public’s assistance. The next step was working with police forces across the country and following up on leads, he said.
“Every lead is another small lead. And every lead presents us with something,” said Caracciolo.
In the end, it was a North American-wide news release that would yield the tip that cracked the case.
“The one that went out to North America yielded a tip to me,” he said. “A female called me and led me through a series of different websites to a picture she thought might have been her.”
Caracciolo would not comment on how Hegg was able to cross the border without identification, but did say that Hegg came to Canada on a bus.
Hegg was reported missing in November after her mother realized she had disappeared from her assisted living community, where she lives independently.
“Her mother is a fantastic lady -- very loving, very caring. She’s just someone who wants to get her daughter home,” said Caracciolo.
The reasons behind Hegg’s amnesia and why she came to Toronto are being kept private.
Caracciolo said he met with the group who helps to care for Hegg and they indicated that there may have been a trauma in her past that led her to Toronto. However, because the details are of a medical nature, they are private, he said.
Caracciolo said Hegg was happy to return home.
“She didn’t recognize the workers that were here that have had contact with her in the past. But she was happy to go home.”