Cathy Jean Thomas, 59, of Douglasville, Ga., has been charged with identity theft, AL.com reported. Investigators say she collected $25,000 in Social Security benefits for the woman now known to be Edith Allen, 68.
Allen was wearing a hospital gown and adult diaper when she was found at St. Vincent's East Hospital in Birmingham, Ala., Aug. 31, 2010. She weighed less than 90 pounds.
Unable to speak, Allen had no identification. Until a few days ago, she was known as "Jane Doe" or by the nickname Sally.
Leads that seemed promising, including a code on her dentures that included the name "Allen," led nowhere. A website that describes missing people recently received a tip that led authorities to Thomas.
Investigators say Allen had been living with a relative of Thomas who died, and Thomas took over her care in 2009.
"It's a relief to me,'' Lt. Scott Bartle of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation told AL.com. "It's been a long, drawn-out process over something that should have never happened."
Thomas was being held in Douglasville in lieu of $50,000 cash bail and was expected to face more charges.
Allen is in an Alabama nursing home, confined to a wheelchair and being fed through a tube fed. Authorities say her care for the past three years has totaled thousands of dollars, and she was ineligible for Medicaid because she did not have an identity.
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