Missing woman found disoriented in 1960s hometown

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho woman who disappeared last week has been found, disoriented but alive, in the small Mississippi town where her father was once a minister in the 1960s.

Cynthia Adams, a 52-year-old Boise woman, was reported missing on Tuesday when she didn't return from a doctor's appointment. She has told police she didn't know how she got to Mississippi.

Stan Niccolls of the Boise Police Department said Adams apparently made three cash withdrawals, one in Idaho and two in Wyoming. On Saturday, she appeared at the door of a home in Clara, Mississippi.

Wayne County, Mississippi, sheriff's deputy Michael Patton said Adams is lucky the same people lived at the house as in the 1960s.

Adams' husband told the Idaho Statesman newspaper he had no reason to believe Cynthia would simply disappear. The couple hadn't fought, and though she had health problems, she didn't have issues with her memory.

On Thursday, she was officially a missing person. On Friday, there was no update. But when Tina Brewer opened the Clara Grocery on Saturday morning, in walked Adams.

"She told us that she had got in at 1 o'clock in the morning and slept in her truck the night before," Brewer said. "She looked like somebody who'd been up all night. It was kinda strange."

She started listing names, Brewer said, and though Brewer didn't know the people she was talking about, older men in the store did.

"She kinda knew everybody they knew, she'd say first names and they'd say last names," Brewer said.

She asked for the McCarty girls. One man asked her, do you mean Bug?

She did indeed mean Bug, who married and became Elizabeth Singleton and who grew up with her given name, Elizabeth McCarty.

Clara is on the Pine Belt on the edge of the DeSoto National Forest, 20 miles west of the Alabama state line. Singleton lives in a house deep in the woods outside of town, and Adams showed up there on Saturday.

"She told me, these are the only clothes I've got," Singleton said. "I said, well, honey, come on in."

Adams gave her the story in fits and starts. She couldn't remember her family in Idaho, but she did remember the people she grew up with. So Singleton turned to Facebook, where she found old classmates from Adams' Mississippi days.

Adams told Singleton she slept in the parking lot of her father's church on Friday night. The pastor's home used to be on the same property, along with a small religious school.

"She kept saying, 'My home is gone and the school is burned,'" Singleton said. "I didn't understand. I asked her, were you in a tornado?"

Then she went to Adams' Facebook page and saw the notices about her missing. She called police.

Wayne County Deputy Michael Patton pulled up to Singleton's house on Saturday afternoon.

"I didn't want to scare her," Patton said. "She appeared a little confused. She was dressed OK, normal. But I got her name, and then saw she was the lady that was missing from Idaho."

Patton called an ambulance and watched them load her inside. Police reached her husband, who told the Idaho Statesman he planned to fly in as soon as he could. Staff at Wayne General Hospital in Waynesboro, Mississippi, declined to identify themselves or say whether Adams was a patient, citing federal privacy laws.

For the residents of Clara, word of the stranger in town was just beginning to get around after church on Sunday afternoon. Niccolls, of the Boise police, said that since Adams has been found safe, the investigation is over and no criminal charges are pending.

"Really," Niccolls said, "it's up to her now what she does."

Singleton is still reeling from Adams' surprise visit.

"It was really crazy," Singleton said. "I'm hoping she'll get help. She's welcome to drop back by."

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