Missing woman, 18, is found She turns up at Baltimore shelter after 3-week absence

December 27, 1997|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A mentally disabled woman from Dundalk who had been missing for most of December was found Christmas Day in a Baltimore shelter, police said yesterday.

Tabitha Lynn Bruce, 18, had been missing since Dec. 4, when she walked away from the Dundalk home she shared with her foster mother, Vernell Chapman.

Bruce called once, on Dec. 16, and left a message on the answering machine telling Chapman she was all right. But until Thursday she had been missing.

"She found her way to My Sister's Place," said Sgt. Kevin Novak, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department.

Officers have not been able to determine where Bruce had been for the three weeks she was missing, Novak said, because she offered conflicting stories.

She told shelter workers she had been assaulted, so she was taken to Mercy Medical Center, where she was determined to be uninjured.

Novak said Bruce apparently turned up Christmas Day at Our Daily Bread, which referred her to My Sister's Place. When she said she had been assaulted, shelter officials took her to the hospital and called police, who determined that she had been reported missing.

Bruce's foster mother, with whom she had lived since she was 14, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Pub Date: 12/27/97

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