Real Name: Loretta A. Scalzo-Myers
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Niagara Falls, New York
Date: October 1993/January 23, 1995
Occupation: Retired Nurse
Date of Birth: December 6, 1921
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Caucasian female. Gray hair.
Details: Loretta Myers was a sixty-nine-year-old retired nurse and widow. She had lived in Niagara Falls, New York for most of her life. In the spring of 1991, she began having trouble remembering dates. During one conversation, she had trouble remembering the arrival time of her daughter Katherine and son-in-law Jeff Bolender. Once they arrived in Niagara Falls, they began to realize that Loretta's forgetfulness was not temporary. Jeff was talking about their daughter Ashley's schoolwork when Loretta said "I graduated from the University of Buffalo last week". In reality, she had graduated almost fifty years earlier.
Katherine and Jeff hoped that Loretta would benefit from a change of scenery. They took her to the family vacation home in Canada, but her condition did not improve. At around 2AM on the night they arrived, they found her wandering around outside crying. She said that someone had stolen her car. However, they explained to her that her car was at her home in New York. She refused to believe them and was very upset.
The next morning, things went from bad to worse. Katherine found Loretta writing something down on a notepad. Loretta claimed that she was copying down doctor's orders for her deceased husband Joe. Even though Katherine insisted that he was deceased, Loretta was adamant that he was alive and in the hospital. Over the next few days, Loretta deteriorated to the point of paranoia. She began walking around the vacation home and closing all of the doors and windows. Jeff found her using a chair to barricade the bathroom door in. She told him that there was an intruder in the garage.
To Loretta's family, it was quite clear that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. This alone would have been difficult enough for her family. However, things worsened in the coming months. Her son Joe Scalzo learned that she was keeping company with a younger man that no one knew. Joe lived just a few miles from his mother; he visited her every day. In October of 1993, he finally met her "new friend" Jerome Johnson. She told Joe that they had met at a coffee shop and that he was taking care of her. Joe was somewhat suspicious of the situation, especially when Jerome said that he had moved out of the YMCA and into Loretta's house. When he asked Jerome what his intentions were, he said that he was going to be "her savior".
Over the next few days, Joe stopped by his mother's house several times. However, no one answered the door. When he finally did see them again, Jerome accused him of breaking one of the windows on Loretta's back door. Loretta then informed her son that she and Jerome had gotten married. She claimed that he was going to take care of her and that Joe did not have to worry about her anymore. However, Joe wanted to take her to the doctor. When he returned the following day, he discovered that no one was there.
The next day, Joe went to the house with a police officer and one of Loretta's doctors. Because the doors were locked, they had to break in through a side door. Inside, they found no trace of Loretta or Jerome. There were a few strange clues. A salad was still sitting on the kitchen table. Loretta's car was missing from the garage. Several thousand dollars worth of her jewelry and silver were missing. Finally, Loretta had taken out a $5,000 cash advance on her only credit card.
Three days later, the couple was pulled over for speeding by a state trooper in Texas, 1400 miles away. When the trooper ran the license plate number, he learned that the car was connected to a missing person. Jerome claimed that the missing persons report was a misunderstanding. He then produced ten copies of their marriage license to the trooper. The trooper thought this was strange and brought them to the police station. Loretta called Joe and told him that she was okay. However, she was obviously confused; she believed that she was still in Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, since the marriage license was legal, the trooper had to let the couple go. Before leaving, Jerome told Joe that he would never see Loretta again.
A few weeks later, in November of 1993, Loretta talked to Katherine on the phone and told her that they were at a motel in Costa Mesa, California. Katherine talked to Jerome, who said that he would contact them if he or Loretta needed anything. He then said that he "problems with trusting" Katherine and Loretta's other family members. Katherine became angry, stating that he had no reason not to trust them since he barely even knew them. When he talked to Jeff, he claimed that he would continue to contact them and let them know that Loretta was okay. However, neither of them ever contacted her family again.
Ten months later, on September 27, 1994, a Montana deputy sheriff found an abandoned vehicle in a Jefferson County forest - which was identified as Loretta's. The car had been covered with several tree branches. On closer inspection, it appeared that someone had been living in it. The sheriff called Joe to tell him about the discovery. He then called for backup to impound her car. During this time, Loretta and Jerome, who were apparently hiding in the woods, got back into the car and sped off. The sheriff gave chase, but lost sight of it and they disappeared again.
The last sighting of the couple was on January 23, 1995, in Chandler, Arizona. At the time, they were both in Loretta's car, a green 1985 Oldsmobile with New York plates.
Suspects: Jerome Johnson
Extra Notes: The case first aired on the February 10, 1995 episode.
Results: Solved. After Loretta's story was re-aired in July 1995, a viewer in Bellingham, Washington called the telecenter, claiming that Loretta and Jerome were sitting in a car outside of the viewer's home. Three days later, Bellingham police found the two at a local shopping mall. Jerome Johnson was detained for a day and was later released.
Loretta was then returned to Buffalo, New York, where she was joyfully reunited with her daughter Kathy and granddaughter Ashley. She was later reunited with her son Joe and other relatives. Loretta's marriage to Jerome Johnson was later annulled. However, Johnson was never charged in the case, presumably due to the fact that they were married. Sadly, Loretta passed away in 2001 at the age of seventy-nine.