Victim of Amnesia Returns to Her Family

Times Staff Writer

A 23-year-old dance student who disappeared two weeks ago while suffering from temporary amnesia was reunited with her parents in Los Angeles after friends heard a police description of her on the radio.

Piper Jones, 23, was embraced by her tearful mother at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center on Saturday, 12 days after the younger woman left home in her car for what was supposed to be a short visit to friends near her home in suburban Ladera Heights.

'Help Me'

Los Angeles Police Detective Doug Haskin of the city's Missing Persons Unit, whose publicity efforts led to her identification, said the young woman walked into the Wilshire-area police station at 4 a.m. on July 24, and told the desk officer, "Please help me, I don't know who I am."

She told police she had awakened on a bus bench and could not remember anything about her past.

When asked by a county medical evaluator to give the name of the president of the United States, Haskin said she replied, "Jimmy Carter." However, Haskin said, "She knew some more recent things too--she knew for instance that Michael Jackson lives in Encino."

On Saturday--eight days after authorities placed Jones in the hospital for observation--radio stations appealed for help in identifying the attractive black woman, who wore braces and blue-colored contact lenses. A friend of Jones, who knew she was missing, heard the broadcast and called her parents.

Her parents, Willie and Blondell Jones, said Sunday they were "grateful and relieved" to have their daughter home after spending several anxious days searching for her on their own.

Willie Jones said that when his daughter failed to return home, he and his wife began contacting all her friends and monitoring her telephone answering machine for messages that might lead them to her.

He said his wife "spent hours contacting many, many police stations" in the Los Angeles area, but was told that because the young woman was an adult "she was probably just off somewhere and we should sit tight."

Jones said his daughter had experienced mild memory problems this summer while taking several prescription medications for a tremor in her arm, but that she had never forgotten who she was.

As the days went by, Jones said, "we realized the memory problem might be a factor, but I was pretty calm because my daughter is a very independent person, and I knew she wouldn't be panicky even if she had lost her memory. Her mother was quite a bit more emotional and awfully worried."

Jones searched for his daughter in his car, and his wife continued calling police stations on the chance that her 1982 gray Honda might turn up.

Haskin said nobody knows what happened to Piper Jones in the four days before she sought help from police.

When she appeared at the Wilshire station, Haskin said, she carried only her car keys and was wearing a fashionable white jacket "that was still sparkling clean, her hair was carefully done, and she was really natty-looking."

Willie Jones said the Honda was found on Venice Boulevard about three miles from the Jones home. "The funny thing is that nobody saw her for four days, nobody knows where she went or what she did," he said.

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