Irish American and literature professor Amy Ahearn, 40, has recently been found after having been missing since early September. The professor, who suffers from Huntington’s disease, was found in Los Angeles and is currently in hospital care.
The Orange County Register reports that Ahearn’s sister, Margie Ahearn, had reported Amy missing on September 8th after not being able to get in contact with her for a week. Margie initially called Amy’s place of employment, Saddleback College in California, who told her that Amy had not shown up for classes since they began on August 22nd.
In order to help spread the word of her missing sister, Margie Ahearn created a Facebook page to both disperse and gather information. She also contacted Kathie Allen of Allen Morris Investigations, and Mary Lopes of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in California to aid in the search.
On November 8th, Margie phoned Lopes at the Sheriff’s Department suddenly feeling hopeful about the status of her as yet unreported sister. Lopes informed Margie that she had was just in touch with a family who had been in contact with Amy in mid-September.
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Turning back to Facebook, Margie posted a note on the site to see if she could find the family from Norwalk who had been in contact with her sister. Within hours, Margie was speaking with Ana Ruvalcaba-Maldonado, who provided Amy shelter for a night without knowing she was a missing person.
Margie Ahearn said, "She [Ana Ruvalcaba-Maldonado] told me my sister had been sitting in front of their home and that she had invited her in when it started getting cold. They gave her coffee and cake and prayed the rosary with her."
The family had contacted the police saying that Amy probably needed shelter, but did not know to report that she was a missing person. Margie Ahearn said that it wasn’t until the family saw the report on television and then called the police with information.
Margie hints that a prior tragedy in the family may have triggered Amy’s sudden disappearance. "She accidentally set the house on fire with a smoking accident," Ahearn said. "We lost them both [their parents] in the house fire. That was really hard to handle. When Amy went missing, I was desperate to find her."