An 18-year-old who turned up in the heart of New York City two weeks ago with apparent amnesia is a Kitsap County woman who was reported missing Oct. 2, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
Kacie Peterson, who was reported missing from Hansville, north of Kingston, was picked up by New York City police outside a shelter near Times Square on Oct. 9, authorities said. It’s unclear how Peterson wound up in New York, said sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson.
Over the past several hours, New York police and Kitsap County sheriff’s investigators have identified Peterson as the memory-impaired woman, Wilson said. Peterson’s family has flown to New York to bring her home.
New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services has been housing Peterson, but officials there declined to comment.
The New York Post reported Saturday that the break in the case came in a call to the NYPD tip hotline from an as-yet-unidentified caller.
Wilson said there have been multiple confirmations that the young woman in custody in New York is indeed the woman person from the Kingston-area.
When Peterson was found in New York she was wearing tattered clothing and was without any identification.
“I just want to know who I am,” Children’s Services quoted the young woman as saying last week. “I want to know who I am and what happened to me.”
Authorities said the 18-year-old told them she had no memories of her name, home or family. Police experts and psychiatrists believe her.
Children’s Services teamed up with the NYPD and law-enforcement agencies nationwide to identify her. Children’s Services said the young woman wrote “Amber” and, at one point, responded to the name.
Peterson did recall some words from the fantasy novel “Fool’s Fate” by Robin Hobb. She also told authorities she’d been writing a fantasy story featuring a heroine named Rian.
She had no problem doing the math portion of study materials for a GED exam but had no memory of the history or science materials, authorities said.
Wilson said that Peterson has a history of memory loss. He said the woman’s father, who lives in Colville, in Eastern Washington, told investigators that she once vanished from the family home and when she was later found, lying on the ground near a stream, she couldn’t remember how she got there.
Peterson’s father reported her missing to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson said.
Kacie Peterson moved to Hansville from Colville in the last several months to live with her late mother’s best friend, Wilson said. Peterson had attended Kingston High School part time, he added.