Croatian police solve mystery of woman with no memory found on rock

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: AP</span>
Photograph: AP

A woman rescued from a Croatian island with no memory of how she got there, where she came from or who she was, has been identified as a Slovakian former designer who had lived in the US and made jewellery for celebrities including Diana Ross.

Croatian police on Wednesday named the woman as Daniela or Dana Adamcova, 57, adding that her identity had been established after friends and acquaintances from Croatia and Slovakia recognised her from a photograph released on Monday.

The news site 24Sata said confirmation of Adamcova’s identity had also come from the US, where she lived on and off until 2015, reportedly selling jewellery to stars including Brigitte Bardot and Barbra Streisand. Her work also featured in the series Friends.

She was discovered on 12 September on the island of Krk, sitting on a jagged rock close to the sea in a remote part of the island. Police said she spoke “perfect English” but had no ID or phone.

Officials on Wednesday described her condition as stable and said she was responding to treatment in the hospital in the town of Rijeka on the Croatian mainland. Social services would take over once she was discharged from hospital care, they said.

One US acquaintance, Nina Smidt, told the Daily Beast Adamcova had worked briefly at a company she managed in 2015 after being placed there by a non-profit organisation that helped homeless people find employment.

Several years earlier, a magazine in her Slovakian home town of Trenčín, which she reportedly left in 1984 to study design in US, published a profile of her describing her as a successful jewellery designer who had sold pieces to several stars.

Adamcova told the magazine she had studied fashion design in Santa Monica, subsequently coming into contact with the entertainment world through a successful film producer she began dating and later married.

The couple reportedly divorced in 2000 and Adamcova returned to Slovakia, where she remained until 2008. It is unclear when she returned to the US, but between 2015 and 2018 she was reportedly in Ireland, working in shelters for the homeless, before returning again to Trenčín.

A Slovakian friend living in Zagreb also recognised Adamcova from the police photo, while a couple of Czech tourists remembered meeting her on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. They recalled she was from Slovakia and was holidaying alone.

Adamcova was spotted on a jagged outcrop of rock on Krk by a fisher. Worried that his boat could run aground if he tried to rescue her himself, the fisher alerted police, who dispatched an emergency rescue team in two 4x4s. They had to abandon their vehicles and walk more than 3km to get to her.

Police described her as dehydrated and confused, saying she appeared to have spent more than one night in a remote area visited by bears and wild boar. She was so weak that she was unable to drink water unaided, and her face was cut.

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