Yesterday, I told you about Jody Roberts, a woman who disappeared from her home outside Tacoma, Wash., on May 20, 1985, at age 27, and virtually disappeared for 12 years. During that time, she had no idea who she was, but built a new identity, lived in Denver before moving to Sitka, Alaska, got married and had two sets of girl twins.
She had been a police reporter on The Tacoma News Tribune, where I once worked, which is how I happened to know her when she was Jody Roberts.
Now, more of the story:
Jody did not know who she was when she found herself wandering around at the Aurora Mall near Denver on May 25, five days after her disappearance. She had only a bit of money, a Toyota key, the clothes on her back and absolutely no idea how she got to be where she was.
She wound up in a Denver hospital and spent several weeks in a mental ward while doctors tried to figure out why she couldn’t remember anything about her previous life.
Eventually, it was determined she was in a fugue state, a rare psychiatric disorder which includes amnesia, possibly induced by severe stress.
Jody’s friends at The News Tribune said she seemed stressed just before she disappeared, but they did not know why. She also was smoking more and drinking heavily.
Once out of the hospital, she gave herself the name Jane Dee, took a job in a fast-food joint and enrolled at the University of Denver, where she studied Russian for some three years. Then, she moved to Sitka. There, while working in a restaurant, she met the commercial fisherman who became her husband and the father of her two sets of twins.
When Jody was found in Sitka, it turned out to be her actual 39th birthday. She had been thinking she was only 35.
More on this Saturday.