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For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2009

For Information, Contact:
Ellen Lovejoy, (609) 292-3703

Family in Columbia shocked to learn sister's whereabouts
TRENTON – Siblings of a longtime “Jane Doe” patient watching news coverage in Columbia about Human Services Police's efforts to identify her came forward today to express joy and gratitude to the lieutenant who worked for years to learn her name and find her family.
A sister and a brother of Elba Leonor Diaz Soccares, 76, known as Jane Doe for the 14 years she spent in state psychiatric hospitals since found wandering in the Woodbridge Mall, spoke with Lt. Eduardo Ojeda after learning through Columbian news that he had identified the sister they had lost touch with decades ago.

“They were elated to find out where she was, having had no clue about what happened to her,” Ojeda said. “They are anxious for a reunion. They said Elba was a sweet, pretty woman and spoke lovingly about her. A cousin in Florida is planning to come and visit her.”  The relatives are spreading the word to her several other siblings throughout Columbia, he said.

Other former neighbors and acquaintances from Brooklyn, N.Y. also have indicated they want to visit Elba, who has advanced Alzheimer's and is not able to speak.

Ojeda spoke with the siblings yesterday during a live Columbian radio station interview. The siblings' contact information is not available.


Elba was identified through an exhaustive, six-year investigation by HSPD that involved authorities throughout the world and tips from people responding to media coverage on HSPD's longtime efforts to learn her true name.

Elba emigrated from Columbia in 1969 and lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she worked in blouse and dress factories as a single mother, according to Ojeda. She previously lived in Venezuela.

Now that officials know Elba's name, she has been approved for Social Security and Medicaid and is awaiting transfer from Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital to a nursing home.


HSPD identifies longtime “Jane Doe” patient (March 2009)

Police seek identity of ‘Jane Doe' in psychiatric hospital (September 2008)

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