Pennsylvania mother who reappeared 11 years after being declared dead was answering an outstanding arrest warrant

Brenda Heist, from Lititz, Pennsylvania, went missing in 2002 after dropping her children off at school

The mother-of-two declared legally dead in 2010 after disappearing without a trace eight years earlier, who then turned up in Florida last month was prompted into resurfacing by an outstanding warrant for her arrest.

Brenda Heist, from Lititz, Pennsylvania, went missing in 2002 after dropping her children off at school.

She walked into the Alachua County Jail in Gainsville, Florida last Friday after violating her probation.

Ms Heist, 54, told police she travelled to Florida on a whim, sleeping under bridges, scavenging for food and begging.

She gave police her alias Kelsie Lyanne Smith. This alerted authorities that she was wanted in Pensacola, in north Florida, for stealing a driving licence. She was charged with forgery and giving a false name to police.

Following release, she did not report to her parole officer, according to WTSP leading to the warrant for her in Santa Rosa County.

She will be transferred on Monday at the earliest to Santa Rosa County Jail.

People who knew Heist during the time she was missing have cast doubt on her story that she was living rough.

Detective Sergeant Schofield, who is leading the investigation, told the Lancaster Online: "We're learning now that life wasn't so bad for her in some of her friend's eyes, that are calling us today."

And ex-roommate Sondra Forrester told CNN: "We were close, she was a friend, and we did things on weekends. We spent time at the beach, and fishing. She was around my three kids. She was very sweet. She called me sweetie. I felt bad for her. It sounded like she'd had a hard life. She said she was a widow, had no children, that her mother died when she was 6."

Another friend told CBS in Philadelphia: "I can’t believe she was being so dishonest… can’t believe she had kids."

Heist worked as a cleaner in Florida after hitch-hiking there with a pair of vagrants.

At the time of her disappearance she was going through an amicable divorce and was crying in the park when two women and a man befriended her and asked her to join them in hitch-hiking to south Florida.

On the day of her disappearance she had left dinner defrosting and was midway through the laundry.

Her ex-husband, Lee Heist collected on a life insurance policy after getting the courts to declare her legally dead in 2010.

He has since remarried and told a press conference yesterday that he remains angry because of the effect his former wife's disappearance had on their children.

At the time his ex-wife went missing Mr Heist came under suspicions because of her mysterious disappearance.

Despite being under suspicion he had be able to maintain a positive relationship with his children.

“There were people in the neighbourhood who would not allow their children to play with my children,” he told the press conference.

Ms Heist turned herself in to police in Key Largo at the weekend and told them she was a missing person.

She told police she had been homeless for two years and had most recently been living in a tented community run by a social services.

Detective John Schofield said: “She was at the end of her rope, she was tired of running".

“She has a birth certificate and a death certificate, so she’s got a long ways to make this right again,” he added. “She’s got to take it slow with her family, I’m sure, and it’s going to be a long process.”

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?