One day in upstate New York, a man took his wife to the doctor for her appointment. However, when he came back to pick her up, something strange happened. The man patiently waited for his wife to finish up, but after a couple of hours had passed, he started to worry. When he went inside the doctor’s office, the receptionists told him that she was nowhere in sight.
Nowhere In Sight
He told her he would come back, so he did. He waited for her, but she never showed up. People wondered what happened to her and where she went. It took a word and a photograph before they were finally able to close the 42-year-old case.
Nothing More Than A Cold
When the man brought his wife to the appointment that day, he did not sense anything that was out of the ordinary. She simply had a nasty head cold. He took her to the doctor and told her that he would come back in about an hour. Then, things got weird.
The wife was Florence “Flora” Stevens. Her spouse last saw her on August 3, 1975. At the time, she was only 36 years old and was full of life and adventure. Therefore, it is really a mystery why she disappeared out of thin air that day.
A Resort In The Catskills
In 1975, Flora was working at a resort in the Catskill Mountains during the summer. The said complex was called The Concord and it was a grand resort with 1,200 rooms. It was also really popular among tourists due to the fact that it was the largest in the area.
When detectives read her job application, they discovered that Flora was a student at Lincoln High School in New York. The information on her was limited, but we know she was married to Robert Stevens.
Opening The Case
No one knew where she had gone. The investigation was opened. There were actually many people who helped look for her. Everybody was puzzled by her bizarre disappearance. Flora was a really nice woman but her whereabouts were totally unknown.
The End Of The Road
Clues became less frequent. Flora had no known living family in the area, so it was nearly impossible to find out where she had been born and raised. It seemed as if it was the end.
No One Could Have Known
Sadly, the case grew cold and no one had a clue what possibly could have happened to her. Back then, they had no idea that the case would be reopened almost half a decade later.
Senior Investigator Yan Salomon
In 2017, New York State Police Senior Investigator Yan Salomon found something which he thought certainly might help answer questions in a long-gone away case that he even had no knowledge about. Could he be of assistance here?
Yan Salomon found something that could help the case on Florence “Flora” Stevens! Her friends and the people following the case had a lot of questions. Where did she hide all this time? Was she hurt?
However, Yan Salomon of the New York State Police did not exactly have the best news. While he did find a woman, she was not alive, since he found skeletal remains. In fact, he needed some help identifying who the person was.
Make Some Calls
The next thing he did was to make some calls. He phoned the sheriff’s office in Sullivan County and asked to talk to a detective. Salomon explained that he found remains of a woman near the Catskills and he needed help identifying who it belonged to.
In the United States, approximately 70,000 female adults go missing every year. It was basically impossible for Salomon to solve this alone. Fortunately, they thought up a clever idea.
Information At Their Disposal
As of January 2016, the total number of active cases of missing women throughout the United States was 21,894. Since records of cases which went cold were kept in storage, investigators have access to these pieces of information.
Looking For Her
Salomon knew that identifying the body was going to be difficult, so he put together a team that can check the numerous open cases and search for similarities to the remains that they found. This helped identify whose body they found.
Welcome To Sullivan County
It was pretty much a long shot, but Salomon still went to Sullivan County to do his own research. It was his way of making the investigation somewhat simpler. He wanted to do local searches to make the identification of the woman easier.
An Open Case
With his skills, Salomon knew the woman was from the area. At the moment, what he needed was to look for answers to his questions. Some time ago in Sullivan County, there was an open case which appeared to match his findings’ description.
Looking For Answers
Salomon already had a woman in mind, so he asked the detectives to show him her case file. He wanted to check for any living relatives. He had no idea that there wasn’t any.
It All Came Together
The missing woman’s file was old. The case was opened in 1975 but the file provided no information whatsoever. However, it clicked for him. Salomon thought he finally had the missing clue.
Salomon deferred the case to the Sullivan County detectives, so Detective Rich Morgan was assigned to it. His main task was finding the link between the two women. After reading the missing woman’s case file, he and the others were able to dig up new information.
Connecting The Dots
Apparently, someone had found her work ID, which showed that she was an employee in the Catskill Mountains. Her ID was found at the same place where the woman’s bodily remains had been discovered. Could it be just a coincidence?
In 1975, 36-year-old Flora Stevens went missing. Get ready because you are about to find out something quite fascinating about this case. Prepare to get shocked!
The Missing Woman
Detective Morgan actually solved the puzzle. The corpse of the woman was indeed connected to cold the case. He began an investigation into the missing woman named Flora Stevens.
Looked Far And Wide
When Flora disappeared, her husband put in a lot of effort to look for her. According to him, he just dropped her off at the doctor for her appointment. However, she did not show up at the time that they had agreed on.
Another Dead End
From that moment on, they opened the investigation. Sadly, no new information was found there. Her husband passed away ten years after her disappearance. It was another dead end, just one after the other.
How Would He Do It?
Detective Morgan knew things would not be easy since he could not talk to relatives about her. He did not know how he could prove that this woman and the one Yan Salomon found were the same.
Her Social Security Number
However, as Detective Morgan was going through the databases, both national and local, he discovered something crucial. A person out there seemed to be using the social security number of Flora Stevens!
250 Miles From There
The detective tracked the number down north of Boston. It was shocking for him to learn that someone in an assisted living facility was using the social security number of the missing person.
A Different Last Name
Detective Morgan called the establishment. According to the staff, the social security number belonged to a Flora. However, her last name not Stevens. It was Harris and she had been in the facility since 2001, apparently.
Detective Morgan, along with another investigator, went to the facility. Both of them could not believe what they had discovered. They did not expect the cold case they were investigating to go this way…
Possible Identity Theft
Detective Morgan told CBS Boston, “Same first name, different last name, but same birth date and social security.” They had to speak to this person. Was this a case of identity theft?
Just Her Photograph
To be safe, they took with them the only picture of Flora that was available in the database. It was the photo from her work ID during the time she worked at the Catskill Mountains. The detectives went to the facility so that they could talk to Flora and introduce themselves to her.
She did something which shocked the detectives. The woman at the facility took the picture and pointed at it. “She says that’s me, or me, she responded with one word, me,” Detective Morgan recounted. It was more telling once they showed her a photo of her husband. She said, “Robert,” and they knew that they found the woman the disappeared.
She Couldn’t Remember
Unfortunately, the investigators could not get answers from her about her disappearance. Flora now has dementia. She was unable to tell them anything regarding the 42 years which have passed.
An Abusive Husband
Detective Morgan explained, “We really don’t know the circumstances of why or how she disappeared. She had psychiatric problems leading up to that point.” Her caregiver Mbuva, however, knew bits and pieces of Flora’s previous life. According to the caregiver, Flora said she was in a terrible marriage and had an abusive husband.
Maybe She Ran
Many detectives believe that Flora purchased a bus ticket and then, skipped town so that she could escape her awful marriage. “Most of the secrets are locked inside of Flora, and I don’t think we’ll ever get them,” Detective Morgan says.
She Didn’t Want To Be Found
Festus Mbuva, the woman that cared for Flora for more than 10 years, says “To be honest, I don’t think she ever really wanted to be found. You can tell something happened in her past that she didn’t want any part of.”
Apparently, Flora grew up in Yonkers. She really liked to say ‘none of your business.’ Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty commented, “It’s a neat feeling [to find someone]. The main thing is we know that Flora is safe.”
Solved But Unsolved
Sullivan County succeeded in closing this case after they verified that Flora Harris was actually Flora Stevens. During a press release, Sheriff Mike Schiff said, “It is not too often that you get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case.”
A Smile And Wave
Finally, after 42 long years, everybody now knows what happened to Flora Stevens. They successfully found the missing person, but we can only wish that she answered all our questions. The investigators left 78-year-old Flora at the facility with a wave and a smile. Thankfully the authorities found Flora in the end. However, would pre-school sweethearts Laura and Matt ever be reunited after being apart for so many years? Only time would tell…
From A Young Age
Laura and Matt met at preschool in Phoenix, Arizona nearly 25 years ago. Both three years old at the time, Matt eyed Laura on the playground and made her acquaintance. Both their parents did not really think much of the kids’ friendship, but the two became an inseparable duo!
The Early Days
Speaking to Today in an interview, Matt confessed “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around.” That following eventually led to something amazing.
The two youngsters got the chance to know each other better on a school trip. Every child had to pair up with another child as their “safety buddy”. Matt and Laura found each other and the two did not let go for the whole duration of the trip.
Laura quickly realized that Matt was kind-hearted and warm, and he just wanted to be friends with her. Before anyone knew it, they were best friends. The two did everything together, from playing hide-n-seek to not sleeping at nap time.
Not Just At Preschool
The time that Laura and Matt had together at preschool was not enough for them. Their parents learned about the kids’ close friendship and decided to set up playdates for the youngsters. Some of the dates included watching movies at the cinema together.
During the movies, Matt would show how much he cared for Laura by holding her hand whenever things got scary.
The Lion King was one of the Disney movies that Matt really loved. Other children would brag about their moms or dads, but Matt would recite lines from his favorite film to impress his best friend Laura.
There is no doubt about it – Laura was impressed with how Matt recited lines from The Lion King. However, Matt still ended up being the one ultimately impressed with Laura. The little girl taught him how to play on the swings, to draw rolling hills, and unbelievably, to eat string cheese in the correct way. He was pretty much blown away by his really brilliant best friend.
Winning Her Over
Matt found another way to impress Laura during a celebration of Cinco De Mayo at the preschool. While all the children were unsuccessful at breaking a piñata open, Matt tried his best and swung really hard, successfully cracking it open. Matt recalls, “Fortunately, I was the kid who managed to do it and I assume it got her attention.”
At age four, Laura and Matt were what some people would call, “love birds”. Despite being only four years old, Matt did not want to keep his feelings for Laura a secret.
Declaring His Love
As a matter of fact, Matt made it a point to announce to his other classmates that he would one day marry Laura. They all found it really amusing, but he shouted, “Just you wait!”
The two of them stayed as close as ever. They enjoyed going to each other’s birthday parties and standing side by side. The two continued to go on more adventures together and spend time at each other’s houses. However, since it was almost the end of preschool, kindergarten would surely bring a big change to them.
Fearing The Future
When the two youngsters realized that they would be going to kindergarten soon, they had enough to worry about. It was possible they would not be in the same class, which would be really dreadful for the inseparable duo. They became fearful when they realized that being at each other’s side might no longer be possible.
The situation ended up being worse than their worst fear. They were not in the same class, and they were in separate schools. It was not their parents’ choice, either. They were enrolled according to their region. Their parents, however, made a promise that they would still meet up for playdates here and there.
Like their parents promised, Laura and Matt met on weekends to spend time together. They had a lot to catch up on! The two youngsters had new friends and they experienced new things every day without each other.
Soon, the weekly visits became less frequent. Soon, the pair were progressing from kindergarten. They saw each other less and less. Soon, Christmas became their only time to get in touch. This photo shows the youngsters spending time together on Christmas.
As time passed by, Laura and Matt’s contact was reduced to just Christmas cards every year. Before, the two used to play every day together, but now, they were losing each other due to such infrequent contact. Of course, as the years went by, they made new friends but no friendship ever came close to the one that they had created together.
The years passed by, and the yearly Christmas cards got less sentimental and less frequent. No one was to blame for this change in their relationship – Matt and Laura were simply growing up. They were growing apart. Although they had an amazing childhood together, they were now maturing.
High school felt so far from kindergarten, and particularly from preschool. It is not really surprise that the two were not thinking about each other anymore. One day, however, there was something that happened in high school. It changed everything.
During her freshman year, Laura was scrolling through her friend’s phone. She suddenly stumbled across a name which she used to know very well. She could not believe her eyes.
When Laura read the name “Matt Grodsky,” she could not believe her eyes. It was the name of her childhood sweetheart. Before she knew it, memories of their close friendship came rushing back and overwhelmed her. Her friend had no idea why Laura went pale.
A Different Plan
Once she caught her breath, Laura explained to her friend that she knew Matt. She talked about their young romance and then asked her friend how she knew Matt. Laura’s friend told her about meeting Matt in middle school. While Laura decided not to dwell on the find, her friend’s mind floated somewhere else.
Setting Them Up
Laura’s friend’s mind was blown by the story she had just heard. She really wanted the two to meet up again. Understandably, Laura was not too keen on the idea. She and Matt had not been in touch for many years – Matt did not know anything about Laura anymore and vice-versa. Their relationship was just not the same when they were little kids.
Despite the fact that it was her first love, Matt, whom they were talking about, Laura was not sure she should have a boyfriend at all. She told People, “I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!’” Laura was nervous about the whole idea. However, her friend still gave Laura’s number to Matt.
When he got Laura’s number, Matt felt compelled to send her a message. He texted her, though he was not sure how she would react. However, when he received her reply, Matt knew everything was going to be good.
The first thing that he noticed when Matt saw Laura again was her infectious smile. He remembers how he felt about that smile. He recalled, “She always had a huge smile.”
The First Date
Pretty soon the two set up a date. They wanted to go see a movie – just like old times. As soon as they met, it was love at first sight once more for Matt. They clicked again, the same way that they had many years ago!
Like Old Times
Their first official date was brilliant and soon enough, the two were dating – they had become an actual couple. Matt and Laura each had a driver’s license, so they could drive to each other. Being at different high schools did not really matter that much anymore. Aside from that, they accompanied each other during school dances and other school functions.
College Coming Up
They might have been separated before, but going to college would be really different from the separation that they had endured in the past. Obviously, Matt and Laura wanted to stay together. However, they were attending different colleges in different states, so they would need to make a pretty difficult decision. “Right after we graduated from high school, we were pretty hesitant,” Laura said to People. “We were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?’”
They both did not want to rob each other of a unique college experience. Laura was going to Northern Arizona University while Matt was heading to Chicago in order to attend Columbia University. They were going to be 1,600 miles apart. However, they were both determined to make their long distance relationship work.
Staying In Touch
Matt and Laura decided that it did not matter if it was going to be really difficult – they were not losing each other again. They made sure to talk to each other every single day using Facetime even if they lived in different time zones. In addition, they made trips to each other whenever they could to make sure their relationship remained alive and well.
They were grateful for social media because it helped them in keeping up with the lives of each other. However, they still missed each other greatly. At one point, they were apart for six months! Matt decided he needed to do something about it.
The Perfect Throwback
Before they knew it, Matt and Laura were seniors in college. Matt organized a really unique date for them. He prepared a picnic… at their preschool! It was a surprise for Laura. However, there was actually more to the well-thought-out date.
A Secret Plan
“I convinced Laura that we were going to a picnic at the preschool. We had just finished up our junior year of college, so I framed it as a nice relaxing date,” Matt said. They had already been together for a number of years, and Matt had something up his sleeve. Laura, however, was completely unsuspecting.
Back To Their Roots
When she found out that they were taking a trip to their preschool, Laura was touched. It was a really thoughtful idea for a romantic picnic and a personal one as well. After all, they had met each other there for the first time.
Matt’s Strange Behavior
Matt seemed fidgety in the car as they were making their way to the preschool. Laura thought he was probably excited and a bit nervous about the secret date. However, after they arrived, she noticed he was still a bit nervous, so her emotions began to run high too.
The Big Move
She soon realized it was more than just some picnic date when Matt went down on his knee and held her hand. He looked Laura in the eye, showed her a ring and asked, “Will you marry me?” Her jaw dropped and she exclaimed passionately, “YES!” Laura recalled, “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this happening?’ I saw the ring and was like, ‘This is gorgeous. I’m so happy with it.’ I had no idea!”
As for Matt, he was quite nervous leading up to the proposal. He was trying to pull off what is probably the greatest move ever in his life and he was also worried that he would lose the ring. He said, “I kept checking my pocket when she wasn’t looking to make sure the ring was still there.”
On May 23rd, 2015, Matt and Laura got engage, but he actually started planning the proposal months before. One part of the planning is Matt asking for blessing from Laura’s dad.
Going All Out
Matt purchased the ring, and even had his brother hide in the bushes to take a video of the proposal. Matt wanted everything to be on film.
The Picnic Basket
Matt asked his parents to lend him a picnic basket. However, this was not an ordinary basket. It was the picnic basket that his dad used on the day he proposed to Matt’s mom. How special is that?
A Special Place
Matt and Laura stood in the exact same spot where he had exclaimed his love for her and their other classmates had laughed. He kept his word on marrying her. “I proposed to her at the place it all began… our preschool classroom,” Matt explained to the Huffington Post. “When you like someone, you just kind of stand up and say it.”
Tying The Knot
They got married on December 30th, 2016. In true Lion King style, the couple shared the first dance to the song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” by Elton John.
As the newlyweds had the first dance at the Arizona Historical Society, they were surrounded by family and friends. Matt’s uncle described their unique love in the best way. “For most kids in preschool, it’s about finding your snacks and your sleeping mats, but for them it was about finding their soulmates.”
For Social Media
Just like other millennial couples, Matt and Laura’s wedding was shared on social media. The couple’s photos were mainly shared with family and friends through Facebook and Instagram. However, the reach of their story and photos would go much farther.
Laura’s Dad Speaks Out
At the wedding ceremony, Laura’s dad shared the incredible story of how they adopted Laura from an orphanage all the way in India. Her dad had a similar story together with her mom.
Their Own Long Distance Relationship
Laura’s dad had spent around a year in India doing a tour. During that period, he was in a relationship with Laura’s mother. Her mother eventually found a job at the U.S. embassy in India, so the couple was finally together.
Visiting The Orphanage
Soon they got married. Laura’s mom told her husband that there was an orphanage in India which had a large number of children who had no homes to go to. The couple went there together to see the babies. As Laura’s dad shared this intimate story, the guests at the wedding listened with intrigue.
There were hundreds of kids in different rooms, but the couple decided to go to the room with babies. When her future parents came upon Laura, they saw that she had drips in her arms and tubes in her nose. The nurses explained that Laura was battling double-pneumonia.
Not Leaving Without Her
Laura’s parents were determined to adopt her, but there was a policy that said the agency gets to decide which baby would be adopted by which parents. However, Laura’s parents were not giving up on the baby who was meant for them.
A Different Place
Laura’s dad knew a new strategy was needed, and though it was risky, his new strategy paid off. At the time, he was working at the American embassy, so he ‘bribed’ the agency’s officials with American products.
Back To Now
All of these events eventually brought the two lovebirds together. Matt’s uncle said something at their wedding ceremony that everyone should think about, “Love is not one moment, not even this moment – it’s every moment.”
Dancing For Love
While the love story of Matt and Laura was theirs to have, it was for other people to take part in as well. When everybody began dancing alongside the lovely couple, they noticed how perfect the moment was. “Our favorite part of the wedding was the dancing and having everyone we love there to celebrate with us,” the two said about their wedding. “We tore it up on the dance floor and it was great being surrounded by everyone who played a part in bringing us together.”
After their dream wedding, Matt and Laura flew to Maui Island to enjoy their honeymoon. It seemed that their life turned from fairytale to paradise. However, this was not the end of the loving couple’s story.
The Way We Met
Laura wanted the world to know of their special story, so she took an old picture of Matt and her, with a new picture, and shared them with “The Way We Met,” which is an Instagram account that shares heartwarming stories of love. Needless to say, their story was a big hit!
A Big Hit
For Matt and Laura, it was obvious that their story of love was unique, but they did not expect it to go viral! Speaking about his feelings for Laura, Matt said with pride, “I was enamored with Laura as a child, and I still am to this day.”
Their story was not only shared between “a few people”, but it began to spread around the world. The Instagram post initially had 30,000 likes and nearly 1,000 comments, but the post soon had 400,000 followers on it. Different media outlets also reached out to the couple, wanting to get a firsthand account of the remarkable story.
Social Media’s Feelings
It might seem like this story was taken out of a movie, but soon the pair were surprised to learn that there were other couples like them. There were others that had similar experiences. There were also people who shared that they had lost touch with their childhood sweethearts.
More Than They Thought
However, Matt and Laura’s influence was much greater than simple nostalgia. Their story was seen by interracial couples from different parts of the country as well and they wanted to express what they felt about it. A number of interracial pairs told Matt and Laura that the couple influenced them to be resilient and strong.
Their story reached so many people even Tyrese Gibson of the Fast and the Furious films read their story. The star was absolutely warmed by the couple’s special connection and by the fact that these two did not give up on their love. In fact, he was so inspired he decided to do something.
Treating The Couple
Tyrese Gibson has shared quite a few times that he really likes love stories. He contacted Laura and Matt and expressed his feelings. Then, he offered the couple a 3-day holiday in Florida. The couple plans to take him up on his offer.
The Grodskys’ Future
Now that Matt and Laura actually live under the same roof in the same town in Arizona, they can happily spend the rest of their days together. It has been two years since they tied the knot. Matt works at a digital marketing agency as an account executive, while Laura works for a non-profit organization which helps children that need foster care. Recently, the couple bought their own house!
The two of them soon decided they wanted to become parents… to dogs, so they adopted a beautiful puppy they named Kirby.
People wanted to know if the couple was planning to have kids in the near future. This is what they had to say: “We would love to have kids at some point. Right now we are focused on our new puppy Kirby and our new house.”
What A Journey
For Matt and Laura, their story of love is a journey to remember. Falling in love at a really young age, being separated for more than 8 years, finding each other again and lighting up with true love are all parts of a beautiful story. They are forever grateful that they have found each other. “The best thing about our relationship is we are just silly and we appreciate each other every day,” they explained. “Having gone through a long distance relationship, you learn really quickly how much the other person means to you and we value our time.”
The Best In Each-Other
These two have known each other practically all their lives, so we can imagine how difficult it must be for them to choose their favorite features in each other. Laura says, “My favorite thing about Matt is his humor, he always makes me happy and he is the most driven person I know.” She adds, “He is always moving forward.” Matt says, “My favorite thing about Laura is her infectious smile and her desire to help those who are less fortunate. She is a force for good and it’s inspiring to be around her every day.”
The Moment They’d Been Waiting For
There are still times when they remember their wedding day and they wonder. There was no doubt that they always had a place in each other’s heart. Getting married was so special, but that is not all it was…
A Wedding To Look Back On
Traditionally, when the bride throws the bouquet behind her, the woman who catches it is usually the one next in line to tie the knot. Sometimes there is fight over the flowers. However, that was not the case at their wedding. Everyone there was in happy spirits.
Celebrating Their Love
For Matt and Laura, every day they get to spend together is a celebration. It is not only because they have gotten married and are on their way to starting a family together. For them, there is a much deeper reason. Their souls were meant to come together, and they did in the end. True love always prevails.
One Small Step
This is just the beginning for Matt and Laura. Their new lives may have started off with a bang, but there is still a lot that they can achieve together. We have no doubt the pair will do great things. With such a wonderful start like theirs, we cannot imagine it any other way.