There was nothing strange about that day until his wife disappeared. He took her to her doctor’s appointment, but she was not there anymore when he returned to fetch her. Several hours had passed already, but she was still nowhere to be found. When he asked the people at the clinic, the receptionist had no idea about her whereabouts either. It was a strange mystery that baffled everyone who knew the woman in question. What could have happened to her?
Nowhere In Sight
He returned as promised. The man waited for her to appear, but this did not happen. What was the fate of this missing woman? Where did she go? In the end, the case was only solved 42 years after that day.
Nothing More Than A Cold
He drove his wife to the appointment, but he did not think that there was anything unusual about the day. The checkup was for a bad head cold of hers. He dropped her off and promised her that he would be back in around an hour.
The missing woman in the story is Florence Stevens, who goes by Flora. She was last seen on August 3, 1975. At the time, she was a 36-year-old woman full of life and adventure. Why did she vanish like that?
A Resort In The Catskills
Flora had been working at a resort in the Catskill Mountains during the summer of 1975. The Concord was a huge 1,200-room resort that was a big hit among tourists since it was the biggest complex there.
Thanks to her job application, investigators found out that she studied at Lincoln High School in New York. While they did not have a lot of info on her, it was known that she was married to Robert Stevens.
Opening The Case
It was a huge mystery because no one knew where she could have gone. They opened an investigation, with many people volunteering to help. A lot of people were confused by the disappearance. Flora was known to be a nice woman, so it was strange for her to vanish just like that.
The End Of The Road
The leads got less and less frequent. Flora had no living relatives as far as they knew, so it was hard to find out where she grew up. It was starting to look more and more like the end of the road.
No One Could Have Known
In the end, the case just went cold. They had no leads on her current whereabouts. Even though it was sad, there was not much for them to do. The case was only solved nearly 50 years after it happened!
Senior Investigator Yan Salomon
Senior Investigator Yan Salomon is a part of the New York State Police. In 2017, he found something interesting. It would end up answering many questions about a case that he was not even aware of.
Yes, we are talking about the case of a woman called Flora Stevens. We will soon find out what really took place on that fateful day. Did Salomon find her? Where did she go? Was she found unharmed?
Sadly, Yan Salomon did not have the best news. It is true that he found a woman, but she was no longer alive. You see, he actually found skeletal remains. He now needed help to figure out who it belonged to.
Make Some Calls
He had to get on the phone and make a couple of calls. One of the things that he did was to call the Sullivan County sheriff’s office because he wanted to talk to a detective. He discovered the skeletal remains near the Catskills area, but it was difficult for him to figure out who the woman was on his own.
Did you know that about 70,000 women go missing every year in the United States alone? With this in mind, there was zero way he could get to the bottom of things on his own. Luckily, they had a good plan.
Information At Their Disposal
By January 2016, the United States had 21,894 active cases of missing female adults across the country. The good thing is that they kept records of cold cases in storage, so it was easy to access this data.
Looking For Her
Salomon was aware that it was not going to be easy, so he assembled a team. He asked them to look at the open cases and check for similarities with the skeletal remains. Was this plan going to work?
Welcome To Sullivan County
Even though it was a long shot, he also went to Sullivan County for some research of his own. He hoped to simplify the investigation by conducting local searches. By doing this, it should be easier for them to identify whose remains those were.
An Open Case
Using his skills of deduction, he figured out that the woman must have come from that area. However, he needed to get the answers to his many questions. There was one open case in the county that matched his findings. Could this be the woman they were looking for?
Looking For Answers
Was the mystery going to be solved at last? Salomon requested to check the case file for this woman. He hoped to talk to her relatives about her. However, he soon found out that she did not have any of those.
It All Came Together
It was quite an old case file. The investigation was launched in 1975 and did not have a lot of information. Despite this, it all clicked for the investigator. Did he finally have a lead?
He ended up deferring the case to the good detectives of the Sullivan County police force. The case was assigned to Det. Rich Morgan. His main task was to look for a connection between these women. After reading the case file on the missing woman, he was able to find more information.
Connecting The Dots
It turns out that they found her work ID. This was how they found out that she worked at the Catskill Mountains. The bodily remains of a woman had been discovered in that area. Was it just a coincidence?
In 1975, a woman in her thirties disappeared all of a sudden. It turns out that there are more interesting things to learn about the Flora Stevens case. We are warning you – this is going to be quite a shock!
The Missing Woman
Det. Morgan was the one who pieced everything together. What was the connection between the cold case and the bodily remains? At any rate, he dug deeper into the disappearance of Flora Stevens.
Looked Far And Wide
When Flora Stevens vanished, it was her husband who looked for her first. He took her to her medical checkup, but she was nowhere to be found by the time he returned to fetch her.
Another Dead End
The investigation started after that. It was sad, but they did not learn much about her disappearance after that. Her husband also died a decade after she went missing. There were a lot of dead ends here.
How Would He Do It?
Det. Morgan was aware that it was not going to be a walk in the park. After there, she had no living relatives that they could chat with. How did he plan to prove that she was the woman Salomon found?
Her Social Security Number
As he went through the local and national databases, he saw a shocking piece of information. It looked like someone had been using the social security number of Flora Stevens! What could it possibly mean?
250 Miles From There
The detective was able to track it down to somewhere near Boston. He was even more shocked to see that it was being used at an assisted living facility. What on earth was going on here?
A Different Last Name
Morgan gave the facility a call. The staff informed him that while it was linked to a woman called Flora, she used the last name Harris instead of Stevens. Apparently, she had been living there since 2001.
Det. Morgan, together with a colleague of his, went to the facility. They were both surprised when they found out the truth. This cold case definitely did not go as planned. But what did any of this mean?
Possible Identity Theft
When Det. Morgan spoke to CBS Boston, he said, “Same first name, different last name, but same birth date and social security.” The only way to know for sure would be to talk to this person. Who was she?
Just Her Photograph
Just to be on the safe side, the detectives did not forget to bring a photo of Flora. There was only one photo in the database, and it was the one used in her work ID. When they arrived at the facility, they introduced themselves to the woman called Flora.
What she did after that would shock them some more. She held the photo and pointed at the woman. Det. Morgan said, “She says that’s me, or me, she responded with one word, me.” They felt even more sure of her identity when she showed them a photo of her husband. It was clearly the same woman because she then said, “Robert.”
She Couldn’t Remember
Sadly, they could not extract any answers from her when it came to her disappearance. This was because the old lady was suffering from dementia. Flora was unable to tell them about the last 42 years.
An Abusive Husband
Det. Morgan also explained, “We really don’t know the circumstances of why or how she disappeared. She had psychiatric problems leading up to that point.” They did find out some things from Mbuva, who has been her caregiver for the last couple of years. He said that Flora had been in an abusive marriage!
Maybe She Ran
There were detectives who think that Flora simply got on a bus and left town because she wanted to get away from Robert. Det. Morgan said, “Most of the secrets are locked inside of Flora, and I don’t think we’ll ever get them.”
She Didn’t Want To Be Found
Let us hear more from Festus Mbuva, who has been caring for Flora for more than a decade now. He said, “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.”
Flora Stevens grew up in Yonkers. She had a bit of telling people, ‘None of your business.’ Eric Chaboty, the Sullivan County Undersheriff, reflected, “It’s a neat feeling [to find someone]. The main thing is we know that Flora is safe.”
Solved But Unsolved
Sullivan County was finally able to close the case after they verified that Flora Stevens and Flora Harris were one and the safe. During the press release, Sheriff Mike Schiff explained, “It is not too often that you get to solve a 42-year-old missing person case.”
A Smile And Wave
It took 42 years, but we finally found out the fate of Flora Stevens. Even though they were able to track her down, they did not get all the answers that they had. At any rate, the police officers simply left her with a wave and a smile as she looked out from the window. It was a good thing that they found her at last but let us now hear if pre-school best friends Matt and Laura would make their way to each other!
From A Young Age
It was around 25 years ago that Laura and Matt first met. They went to the same preschool in Phoenix, Arizona. When the 3-year-old spotted her classmate on the playground, he tried to befriend her right away. The parents did not think much of it at first, but they soon became attached at the hip!
The Early Days
When he spoke to Today, Matt said, “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around.” It would turn into something more amazing than you might imagine!
Things started to get more serious when they went on a school trip together. The kids were supposed to find a “safety buddy” and pair up. Matt and Laura did not leave each other for a single second during that field trip! How cute is that?
It did not take little Laura long to realize that he was a kind and warm boy who only wanted to befriend her. Soon enough, the two of them were the best of friends. They did everything with each other. Not only did they play hide ‘n’ seek with each other, but they also stayed awake during nap time together!
Not Just At Preschool
It was not enough for them to simply see each other at school. When their parents learned just how close the kids were, they set up playdates for Matt and Laura. There were times when they brought the children to the movies!
When they went to the movies, Matt managed to show his best friend that he cared about her. Every time that a scary scene came on the screen, he would hold her hand! That is so sweet!
The Lion King was one of his favorite Disney animated films. Even though the other kids liked to brag about their parents, he preferred to impress Laura by reciting the lines from the movie! Did his tactic work?
We are sure that she was impressed by his recital of lines from the movie. However, Matt was the one even more blown away by his brilliant friend. Laura taught him how to ride the swings, how to eat string cheese the right way, and how to draw rolling hills. He could not believe just how his best friend was!
Winning Her Over
Matt was able to impress her once more when the preschool had a Cinco De Mayo event. Everyone had been trying to break the piñata open, but it was Matt who was able to make the winning swing. This was how he narrated it: “Fortunately, I was the kid who managed to do it and I assume it got her attention.”
By the time they were four years old, Matt and Laura could already be described as “love birds.” They might have been young, but Matt was not going to keep quiet about how he felt about Laura.
Declaring His Love
As a matter of fact, he wanted their classmates to know that he was going to marry her in the future. They thought that it was amusing to hear that, but he retorted, “Just you wait!”
Matt and Laura stayed as close as they could. Among others, they would go to birthday parties together. These kids spent more time with each other and embarked on more adventures as well. However, it was soon time for preschool to come to an end. What was kindergarten going to be like for these best pals?
Fearing The Future
They had a lot of things to worry about after they realized that they would go to kindergarten after that. There was a possibility that they would not be in the same class. This idea was painful for the best friends. Matt and Laura both felt scared when they realized that they might no longer be together.
However, things turned out even worse than what they were thinking. They were not just placed in different classes, but they also got enrolled at separate schools! This was not the choice of their parents because they had been enrolled by the region. Despite this, their parents told them that they could still meet up for playdates every now and then.
As promised, the two of them got to meet on weekends to spend some time together. There were a lot of things for them to catch up on. Now in kindergarten, they both had different friends and experiences.
However, the weekly visits ended up getting less and less frequent. Time continued to pass, but Matt and Laura rarely saw each other after a little while. The photo below shows them spending some time together on Christmas day. Aren’t they adorable?
Tim went on, but Laura and Matt started to drift apart. After a little while, their only contact would be the holiday cards that they sent each other. They used to be inseparable, but they were now losing touch with one another. While they made new friends, it was hard to replicate the bond they had.
The years went by. After some point, the yearly Christmas cards got less sentimental and arrived less frequently. There is no need to blame anyone for how their friendship went. Matt and Laura were just growing up and growing apart. They had a great childhood together, but things were different now.
High school feels like an entire world away from kindergarten. This is even more true when you compare it to preschool. It is not exactly surprising to hear that they were no longer thinking about their childhood best friend. However, things changed one day when they were in high school.
When Laura was a freshman, she had been scrolling through the phone of a friend. It was then that she saw a name that she used to know very well. The young girl could not believe what she was seeing.
“Matt Grodsky,” the screen read. Laura could not believe it. What was the name of her childhood sweetheart doing on her friend’s phone? This young woman was then overwhelmed by a flood of memories from her childhood. Her friend felt concerned after seeing just how pale Laura had gotten.
A Different Plan
After she finally caught her breath, Laura told her friend about her past with Matt. She explained that they had been childhood sweethearts. It turned out that her friend knew him from middle school. Even though Laura wanted to forget all about it, her friend wanted to try something out.
Setting Them Up
Her friend could not believe just how amazing their story was. She decided to set up Matt and Laura once more. In the beginning, Laura felt hesitant about the plan. After all, she had not spoken to him in many years. He did not know her anymore and vice-versa. Was their relationship going to stay the same? Was it going to be awkward when they meet again?
They might have been talking about her first love, but Laura was not sure if it was the right time for her to look for a boyfriend. She talked to People about how she felt at the time: “I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!’” In general, she felt very nervous about this plan. Despite this, her friend handed her phone number to Matt.
When he got her number, he felt a compulsion to text his old best friend. He sent her a text and hoped that she would respond well. When Laura replied, he felt confident that things were going to be fine!
When they met up again after so many years, her infectious smile was the first thing that he noticed. Matt was always a big fan of that smile! He said, “She always had a huge smile.”
The First Date
Matt and Laura agreed to go on a date. They decided to go to the movies just like the good old days. According to Matt, it felt like love at first sight once more! They got along, just like they did in the past.
Like Old Times
The first official date had been amazing. It did not take long before they started to go out as boyfriend and girlfriend. They were old enough to drive, so it was no longer hard for them to see each other. It no longer mattered that they attended different schools. However, things did not end there. They also went as their dates to school dances and other school events.
College Coming Up
Even though they had already experienced separation before, they knew that leaving for college would not be the same. Matt and Laura hoped to stay together, but it was not going to be easy because they were going to different schools in different states. “Right after we graduated from high school, we were pretty hesitant,” Laura said when she spoke to People. She went on to say, “We were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?’”
Matt and Laura did not want to rob their partner of a good college experience. Laura was going to Northern Arizona University, whereas Matt planned to attend Columbia College in Chicago. This meant that they would be 1,600 miles apart. However, they felt determined to make things work.
Staying In Touch
There was no doubt that it was not going to be an easy ride. However, they did not want to risk losing each other once more. Even though they lived in different time zones, they talked to each other on Facebook every day. Aside from that, they paid visits to each other when their schedules were free. This was how they kept the relationship alive!
They were both happy that social media ware around. This way, they could keep up with what was going on in the other’s life. Despite this, they missed each other very much. There was even an instance when they did not see each other for six months! Matt knew that this could not go on forever.
The Perfect Throwback
It did not long before they were finally seniors in college. Matt took it upon himself to create a unique date. He made them a picnic, but the location was very special to both of them. He planned to have it at their old preschool! Laura had no idea that he was planning to do such a thing.
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,” he said. They had already been in a relationship for a couple of years by then. There was something else that Matt wanted to do for her. What was it?
Back To Their Roots
After hearing that they were going to their old preschool, Laura was moved. She thought that it was a very thoughtful thing for Matt to do. Let us not forget that this was where they first met!
Matt’s Strange Behavior
As they drove to the preschool, Laura could not help but notice just how fidgety Matt was acting. She thought that he was only excited and nervous about the secret date. However, she saw that he was still behaving that way even when they got there. This only made her feel a little nervous herself!
The Big Move
As she realized that this was not an ordinary romantic picnic, Matt went down on his knee and held her hand. He caught her eye, took out a ring, and asked her, “Will you marry me?” Laura could not believe it. Without any hesitation whatsoever, she let out, “YES!” 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!”
Apart from the fact that this was the biggest move he ever had to pull off, Matt was also concerned 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.”
Matt asked Laura to marry him on May 23, 2015. However, he had been planning it for months. There were many things he had to do before this. For one thing, he asked Laura’s father for permission!
Going All Out
After getting the blessing of her father, Matt bought the ring. He also asked his brother to hide in the bushes and record the moment using a video camera. He wanted to immortalize that moment!
The Picnic Basket
Matt brought a picnic basket that belonged to his parents. It was not an ordinary basket either. No, it was the one that his dad used when he proposed to his mom! This makes it even more special.
A Special Place
Matt and Laura had been in the same place where he used to exclaim his love for her. In those days, the other kids simply laughed at him. Who would have thought that he would make good on his promise in the same spot? “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
Matt and Laura tied the knot on December 30, 2016. We love the fact that they stayed true to memories from their youth. The first dance was set to “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from Lion King!
Their loved ones watched them as they danced together on the floor of the Arizona Historical Society. When Matt’s uncle spoke, he was described their love in a great 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
They were millennials, so it was only natural for them to share their photos online. They used Facebook and Instagram to share that day with their friends and family members. However, their story would end up reaching more people than just their inner circle.
Laura’s Dad Speaks Out
During the wedding ceremony, Laura’s dad talked about how they brought her home with them. They first found her in an orphanage when he was working in India! Let us now hear this fascinating story.
Their Own Long Distance Relationship
Laura’s father had been doing a tour of India and lived there for about a year. He was already with Laura’s mother when this happened. Eventually, she was able to snag a job at the American embassy there. At long last, the two of them could be together.
Visiting The Orphanage
They eventually tied the knot at some point. Laura’s mom talked to her husband about this orphanage with many children in need of a loving home. They decided to drop by and look at the babies. As he told the story, the guests could not help but listen to him in awe.
In the orphanage, there were many children spread out across different rooms. However, they went straight for the one that had the babies. The first time that they saw Laura, there were tubes in her nose, as well as drips in her arms. According to the nurses, she had double-pneumonia.
Not Leaving Without Her
The couple already felt determined to bring home this baby girl with them. However, there was a policy that dictated which babies could be adopted by whom. There was no way that they were going to let such a thing get in their way!
A Different Place
Laura’s father realized that they needed to use another tactic. It might be risky, but it paid off in the end. He had been working at the American embassy back then, so he ‘bribed’ the officials at the orphanage with the help of American products.
Back To Now
In the end, they were able to bring Laura home with them. She and Matt would not have gotten together if this story did not happen. Matt’s uncle also said something beautiful about their relationship: “Love is not one moment, not even this moment – it’s every moment.”
Dancing For Love
Matt and Laura had a great love story, but they made sure that their loved ones could also join in. When their friends and family started to join them on the dance floor, it felt like everything was right in the world. “Our favorite part of the wedding was the dancing and having everyone we love there to celebrate with us,” they explained in reference to that moment. “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 the wedding, the pair spent their honeymoon on the island of Maui. They had a fairytale wedding, so it was now time for them to relax in paradise. This was not yet the end of the story, however.
The Way We Met
Laura decided to share their incredible story with the rest of the world. She used an old photo of them, combined it with a recent one, and shared the result with an Instagram page called “The Way We Met.” It shares stories of lovely couples. We are happy to hear that their story became a big hit.
A Big Hit
The two of them had a special story. Despite this, they could not believe that it went viral. He talked about his feelings for her with pride: “I was enamored with Laura as a child, and I still am to this day.”
This story reached more than just “a few people.” It even became an international phenomenon! The Instagram post racked up 30,000 likes and around 1,000 comments. Soon enough, the post received a collection of 400,000 reactions. We are also impressed to hear how much attention it got! Not only that, but various media outlets hoped to talk to them about their incredible romance as well.
Social Media’s Feelings
We know that it sounds like something from the movies. However, there were other people who had a story just like theirs. Who would have thought that this was more common than we thought? However, many of these childhood sweethearts said that they simply lost all contact after some time.
More Than They Thought
However, they were able to leave a bigger influence than nostalgia. Interracial couples from different parts of the country saw the story and felt inspired by what they went through. Some of them even contacted Matt and Laura to tell that their story inspired them to be resilient and strong.
The story reached far and wide. As a matter of fact, the news even made it to Fast and the Furious actor Tyrese Gibson. He was moved by the special connection between Matt and Laura and the way they did not give up. In fact, he decided to do something about it!
Treating The Couple
Tyrese Gibson has talked about how much he likes love stories. This must be one of the best romances that he has ever heard in his life. He got in touch with Matt and Laura to say that he was moved by their story. He then offered the couple a 3-day Florida vacation! They plan to take him up on this.
The Grodskys’ Future
Now based in Arizona, the two of them are living under the same roof. This young couple truly has their entire lives ahead of them. It has been two years since their wedding day. Matt is now an account executive working at a digital marketing agency. On the other hand, Laura is working with a non-profit organization that looks after children in need of foster care. They also bought a house fairly recently.
It did not take Matt and Laura long before they decided to become parents. They did not have kids yet, but they did adopt a cute puppy that they call Kirby. But what are their plans for a family?
People was curious to hear if Matt and Laura planned to have kids of their own in the future. Here was what the couple said in response, “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
It goes without saying that Matt and Laura had an incredible story. They fell in love with each other when they were very young, got separated for 8 years, and found each other once more. We are sure that they are grateful to have each other. “The best thing about our relationship is we are just silly and we appreciate each other every day,” the couple explained. “Having gone through a long distance relationship, you learn really quick how much the other person means to you and we value our time.”
The Best In Each-Other
Matt and Laura have known each other their entire lives. We wonder if it is difficult for them to choose their favorite things about each other. “My favorite thing about Matt is his humor, he always makes me happy and he is the most driven person I know,” Laura replied. “He is always moving forward.” On the other hand, her husband said, “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 times when they pause and think of their wedding day. It feels like a miracle that they ended up finding each other again. It was special when they got to tie the knot, but it was also more than that.
A Wedding To Look Back On
In many traditions, the bride will throw the bouquet behind her back. It is said that the woman to catch it would be the next one to get married. There are times when girls fight over it. Luckily, this did not happen during their wedding because everyone had been in a good mood.
Celebrating Their Love
For Matt and Laura, their love is worthy of being celebrated every single day. It is not only because they got married and want to start a family with each other. For them, it runs deeper. Their souls must have been destined to come together until they were finally one.
One Small Step
This is merely the beginning for Matt and Laura. Even though they started this new chapter of life on a great note, they still have so many things to achieve together. With the other at their side, we are sure that they are both going to do amazing things in the future!