A 57-year-old New Jersey woman with amnesia who went missing more than 20 years ago after having a breakdown following a painful breakup may have been seen walking the aisles of a South Carolina Walmart, according her family and police.
Renee LaManna of Ocean City, who vanished on January 8, 1994, was possibly spotted at a Walmart in Greenville wandering through the store and muttering to herself.
The missing woman, who sometimes carries a Bible, had previously been seen in Asheville, North Carolina, and South Chesterfield, Virginia, and she reportedly told people she was searching for her family during those encounters.
Her family attempts to monitor possible sightings of the missing woman and is active on social media with news of her whereabouts.
The @ReneeLaManna Twitter account often tweets photos and wanted posters showing a woman believed to be the missing woman that others share and print out to distribute in the community.
The posters have led to some possible sightings, similar to the one at the South Carolina Walmart, but LaManna is still missing and many details about the life she is now leading remain unclear.
Prior to her disappearance, LaManna had become a Muslim and was also a vegan, according to the Charley Project.
She was dating a taxi driver from Afghanistan for ten years but they broke up just before she disappeared.
Due to her illness, LaManna does not know her name or who her family are but she has a vague notion that they are in Florida, Fox Carolina reported.
LaManna's family said her mental disorder is called Dissociative Fugue, according to NJ 101.5.
The rare disorder 'involves disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity, or perception'.
Her sister, Margaret, said LaManna has told strangers: 'I have been looking for my family for a long time.
'I can't understand why they can't find me.'
Police say she may be using an alias and visiting trucks stops to hitchhike.
Margaret said: 'Renee is sweet, soft spoken and harmless.
'She does not drink, smoke or do drugs. She needs medical attention.
'Her family loves and misses her and wants her home.'
Anyone with tips regarding LaManna's whereabouts is asked to call 1-888-RENEE-11.
What are the symptoms of Dissociative Fugue?
A fugue in progress often is difficult for others to recognize because the person's outward behavior appears normal. Symptoms of dissociative fugue might include the following:
- Sudden and unplanned travel away from home
- Inability to recall past events or important information from the person's life
- Confusion or loss of memory about his or her identity, possibly assuming a new identity to make up for the loss
- Extreme distress and problems with daily functioning (due to the fugue episodes)
What causes Dissociative Fugue?
Dissociative fugue has been linked to severe stress, which might be the result of traumatic events - such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence - that the person has experienced or witnessed. The use or abuse of alcohol and certain drugs also can cause fugue-like states, such as alcohol-induced 'blackouts'.
How common is Dissociative Fugue?
Dissociative fugue is relatively rare. The frequency of dissociative fugue tends to increase during stressful or traumatic periods, such as during wartime or after a natural disaster.
How Is Dissociative Fugue Treated?
The goal of dissociative fugue treatment is to help the person come to terms with the stress or trauma that triggered the fugue. Treatment also aims to develop new coping methods to prevent further fugue episodes. The best treatment approach depends on the individual and the severity of his or her symptoms, but most likely will include some combination of the following treatment methods - sychotherapy, cognitive therapy, medication (there is no medication to treat the dissociative disorders themselves someone may benefit from anti-anxiety or anti-depressants if they also have anxiety or depression, family therapy, creative therapies such as art or music or clinical hypnosis.