Real Name: Vera Lorene Roberts Houtkin
Case: Lost Heir/Sister
Location: Austin, Texas
Date: February 12, 1964
Details: Lorene Roberts grew up in Dripping Springs, Texas. While in high school, she was on the basketball team and a member of the pep club. For unknown reasons, she dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen. Afterward, she worked as a waitress in Austin, Texas. In 1949, she met a young serviceman; just ten days later, they were married. They had three children, and in 1956, they moved to his hometown in New Jersey. His family disliked Lorene; they even bought her and the children train tickets back to Austin. After returning there, Lorene and her husband divorced.
Lorene worked and had her oldest child watch the younger ones. She, however, was unable to raise and support them, so she gave them up for adoption. Her emotional and mental states began to deteriorate; she eventually asked her sister, Ruby, to take her to the state mental hospital. Between 1957 and 1961, she was admitted to there five separate times. Each time she was released, she found work as a waitress. However, the pressure at the job would be too great for her, so she would readmit herself to the hospital.
In 1959, Lorene showed up at Ruby's house unannounced; she told her that she was engaged to a college professor. Ruby could tell that she was still not well, but she left before she could get her help. Two weeks later, Ruby received a bill for Lorene's engagement ring; she had bought it herself, but failed to make the payments.
For unknown reasons, Lorene stopped contacting her family; she was last seen on February 12, 1964, when she visited another mental hospital. In 1988, her mother passed away and she left a $100,000 inheritance for each of her children, including Lorene. A court-appointed attorney has been assigned to search for her so that she can inherit the money.
In 1985, Lorene's daughter, Debbie Russ (who had located her brothers in 1978), found Lorene's family and learned that she was missing. They are searching for her not only to reunite with her, but to also have her receive her inheritance. They fear that she may now be homeless, living on the streets and not knowing her identity.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 11, 1991 episode.
Results: Solved. Lorene watched the broadcast and called the telecenter. She now goes by her first name "Vera" and had been living in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the past thirty years, where she worked as a housekeeper for just room and board.
Ruby flew to Little Rock to pick Lorene up and return her to Austin. She has been reunited with her sisters, children, and other relatives. She also received her $100,000 inheritance. She stayed in Austin for three months before returning to Little Rock. Sadly, she passed away in 1997 at the age of sixty-four.
- Vera Lorene Roberts Houtkin at MyHeritage
- Vera Houtkin at Ancestry.com
- Vera L Houtkin at Ancient Faces