RICHMOND, Va. -- A woman who vanished from her New Jersey home in 1994 and whose disappearance has baffled people all over the world, was reportedly spotted in Richmond Thursday. Renee Lamanna is listed in the national database as missing and endangered. Through the years there have been sightings of the now 57-year-old woman believed to have dementia, in Washington DC, Tennessee and Virginia.
Now the most credible recent sighting, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, was at 14th and Broad Street in downtown Richmond.
"How this woman has survived this many years is beyond me,” said Mark Eggeman, with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “It must be the grace of God. I don't understand how she's alive."
Since Renee Lamanna disappeared more than two decades ago, there have been periodic sightings. But she has always managed to vanish again. When approached she can give you up to five or six different names.
“She’s missing and endangered, and she has a severe impairment,” said Eggeman. "We believe she has dementia. She had a psychotic meltdown 21 years ago and ran out of her house in pajamas and a robe."
Lamanna is known for wearing a blue blanket around her shoulders.
That's what got the ball rolling on a tip Thursday in downtown Richmond, when a special education teacher leaving a conference, noticed something she had recently seen on Facebook.
"She had a blue blanket and a really old pair of glasses. She looked hungry,” Diane Kirby, from Colonial Beach, said. She said she did a double take but kept on towards Interstate 95. But she said the image of her face kept tugging at her heart, so she looked up the old post on her friend’s Facebook wall.
"When I looked at it on Facebook, I knew she was the woman I saw for sure,” Kirby said. “I felt sick that I didn't turn around and get her."
Kirby did call police, but Lamanna was gone when they got there.
Her family in Florida is now begging anyone who sees Renee to call police.
"This is the most unusual case of my 32-year career," Eggeman said.