A Connecticut woman reported missing over 20 years ago from Arizona was identified using DNA testing after she checked into a hospital without any knowledge of who she was or where she came from.
CBS 5 reports that Aleacia Stancil checked into a hospital in 2014, disoriented and confused. With no information to go on, a nurse began searching online for missing people and discovered an age progression photo that greatly resembled Stancil. Authorities requested DNA in hopes of getting a possible match.
In 1994, when Stancil was a 9-month-old toddler, she disappeared from Arizona after her mother, Toni, gave her to a friend to watch over. Stancil’s mother was a struggling single mom who was once in the Air Force, and asked a friend to watch her daughter temporarily so she could “clear her head,” but Toni ended up involved in drugs and prostitution. Stancil disappeared in 1994 but her mother, who ended up in jail the same year, didn’t report her missing until a year later.
After her mother’s arrest, Stancil was shifted around to several different people until she ended up in Child Protective Services, with her identity unknown. Authorities never pieced the information together after her mother reported her missing.
A year later, Toni was murdered.
“Without that one and only witness, I’m very limited in how to proceed with the investigation,” Det. William Andersen of the Phoenix Police Missing Persons Unit told CBS 5 in 2013.
KTAR News reports that in 2008, according to Phoenix Police Sgt. Armando Carbajal, authorities reviewed the case again with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). During that time, Stancil’s family members gave DNA samples to authorities and age progression photos were made.
“This was obviously an outstanding example of how Phoenix Police detectives and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children work together, and that no case is ever put on the shelf,” Carbajal said. “It’s continuously worked and all leads are aggressively sought after until they can be resolved.”
Since the discovery, Stancil has since been adopted into another family. She has a grandmother, Frances Ford, in Georgia, who asked for privacy. Ford did insinuate, however, that her granddaughter was wanted and cared for. The two now have a renewed relationship.
“I would want the world to know that these are the things that can happen to kids, and not every story is not a happily-ever-after, and it doesn’t mean that they came from someone who didn’t want them or didn’t care.”
[Feature Photo: Aleacia Stancil/NCMEC]