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Last month, Washington City Paper reported on a woman’s search to find her missing mother-in-law (“Have You Seen This Woman,” 2/7). In March 1994, Elaine Rosenberg wandered off from a board-and-care facility for the mentally ill in Los Angeles, and her family spent the next three years searching for her in homeless shelters and soup kitchens across the country. In December, Elaine’s daughter-in-law Debby searched for Elaine in Washington on a hunch that Elaine might have come here because of her fascination with the presidency.
For four days, Rosenberg tromped through hospitals and homeless shelters, peered under blankets on park benches, and plastered the city with fliers bearing her mother-in-law’s picture. Dozens of people around the city responded, calling the hotline numbers provided on the fliers and in the story, offering leads and possible sightings of Elaine. We’re happy to report that last month Elaine was foundno thanks to us, though.
On Feb. 21, Debby and her husband Marshal Rosenberg got the news that Elaine had been confined to a hospital in New York City since December. When she arrived there, Elaine was unable to tell the staff where she had come from or who her family was. But she was able to give a social worker five numbers, which turned out to be part of a phone number. The social worker worked with the phone company for several weeks and later discovered that the number was to Marshal’s childhood home. The man at the end of the line was Elaine’s ex-husband.
“We are very happy,” says Marshal, who adds that they are still getting information and leads from “many, many good people who are looking out for us.”
The Rosenbergs have been up to visit Elaine, so after a three-year search Debby got to meet her mother-in-law for the first time. They still aren’t sure how Elaine managed to get from Los Angeles to New York, but they think she went via Amtrak. “That’s about all we know,” says Debby, who says the family is deeply grateful to the social worker who took the time to work with Elaine. The Rosenbergs say Elaine is doing well and is getting all the care she needs. She will be staying in the hospital for a while yet, but in the meantime, Debby says, “she’s just been inundated with visitors and phone calls. Everyone’s just thrilled that we’ve located her.”CP