(Lancaster New Era) Brenda Heist vanished one day in February 2002, leaving behind two children, her husband, her job and her suburban Lititz home.

Last week, Heist reappeared, a thin specter seemingly risen from the dead to family and police who never stopped searching for or thinking of her.

Heist surfaced in Florida, where she has been living under bridges and in tents, working day jobs, panhandling and eating food discarded from fast-food restaurants for more than a decade.

Heist — now 53, fragile-looking, her skin browned by years in the Florida sun, her graying hair dyed blond — got up Friday morning and decided to end her life living off the grid.

She turned herself in to police in Key Largo, Fla.

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