An Alabama woman who went missing five years ago has been found in Florida and in good health.
Laurie Anne MacConnell, 53, along with several others, disappeared after a strong tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, reports KPTV Oregon.
Hundreds of people went missing after an EF4 tornado devastated Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011. The disaster killed dozens and damaged more than 10 percent of the city’s infrastructure. Authorities say most of the missing were ultimately found.
Five people were still missing by May 19, 2011 in Tuscaloosa: Laurie MacConnell, Latoya Brown, Teresa Marioquen (a mother), Teresa Marioquen (her daughter) and Yolonda Marioquen.
The Tuscaloosa police department obtained a tip that MacConnell was in Florida.. Investigators collaborated with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in south Florida and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to contact MacConnell, reports AL.com.
“An investigator with the Tuscaloosa Police Department was able to speak with Ms. MacConnell over the phone and verify that she was the person listed as missing, and she was in good health,” Tuscaloosa Police Capt. Brad Mason said in a news statement on Nov. 25.
Mason said MacConnell resides in Georgia but was identified last week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in its missing persons database when she was going on a cruise.
MacConnell seems to be living with extended family members that were unknown to her other relatives, according to Mason. The fact that MacConnell was found alive should provide hope to the other families with missing members, according to Mason.
"Hopefully people will see this story and the other three persons that we have not made contact with, maybe somebody might know them, might have seen them or heard from them. We can hopefully make contact with them also," said Mason.
There are still three individuals reported missing in association with the tornado: Latoya Brown and the mother and daughter both named Teresa Marioquen.