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Two Los Angeles residents have said that they can solve the mystery of a woman found wrapped in a sheet on a Croatian beach asking for help in perfect English but who said she couldn’t remember her own name or how she got there.
The woman was spotted by an unnamed couple on 12 September on Krk Island, who said she couldn’t possibly have made it onto the rocky shoreline on her own.
Nina Smidt told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that the woman she saw in numerous media reports was Daniela Adamcova – an artisan at a company where Ms Smidt worked as a manager in 2015. Ms Smidt told the outlet that Ms Adamcova had been got the position via a nonprofit that helps the homeless.
The company was located at a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles called Second Space. The landlord, Tyler Madsen, let her live there for free in order for her to save money to eventually move to Ireland and leave Skid Row behind.
Some years previously, a paper in her home country of Slovakia had written about her, describing her as a successful jewellery designer, with some of her items having been worn by Brigitte Bardot and Diana Ross.
“I recognised the woman in the photo immediately,” Ms Smidt told The Daily Beast. “The second I saw her picture, I sent it to Tyler to confirm that it was her, which he confirmed.”
Mr Madsen said the woman left to move to Ireland in 2015, but that he was certain it was her that he was seeing across the news.
“One hundred per cent – there is no doubt in my mind it’s her,” he told The Daily Beast.
My Trencin, a Slovakian news outlet, ran a story about Ms Adamcova in 2008 entitled Brigitte Bardot Wore My Jewelry, in which it’s revealed that she left Slovakia for the US in 1984 when she was 19, hoping to work in jewellery design.
That would make her 56 today, only a little bit younger than the estimation made by Croatian authorities.
Ms Adamcova told My Trencin that the US was a “land of unlimited possibilities”.
“I decided to study at the Fashion Institute of Design and Trade in Santa Monica in the field of Fashion Design and Art Painting, specialising in handmade jewellery,” she told the outlet. “Then I got a job at a jewellery store, where my interest in jewellery began.
“Gradually, as I began to gain more practice, I bought real pearls and better quality material than gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones,” she added, also noting that she was dating a film producer at the time.
“Through him, I got into film studios and lent jewellery to make movies and series,” she said. “A necklace of small stones in the shape of flowers appeared on the neck of the actress in the series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She also actually owns the jewellery.”
She said she went back to Slovakia in 2000, “mainly” because of “the desire for a family”. But she said she wanted to return to the US in the 2008 interview, but it’s not known when she made the journey.
Ms Smidt told The Daily Beast that she saw a photo of the woman on Monday, called Croatian police, who got in touch with the Slovakian embassy, who then confirmed the woman’s identity with members of her family. Police reported back to Ms Smidt on Tuesday.
Neither Croatian nor Slovakian officials have formally identified her – Croatian police said they would not do so until a DNA test has been done.
The Times of London was the first outlet to name Ms Adamcova.
Ms Smidt said Ms Adamcova “had run into hard times and bad luck. But she was a really good worker, smart, and she has a wonderful heart”.
“Tyler and I are concerned about her well-being and are hopeful that now that her identity has been confirmed by the embassy, her family will be able to help find out what happened to her,” she added.
“Our interactions were always good. She was a hard worker and was always trying to save up money,” the landlord said. “I think it was Ireland she was trying to go to and she had friends over there and was really determined to save up and get to her people.”
Tourists told a local outlet that they met Ms Adamcova on 9 September in Drvenik in southern Croatia. She told the tourists that she had come by train from Slovakia and was going to go home after exploring the country.
“She told us about how she travels and that she is retired and her friends are still working,” the Czech tourists told TN.CZ. “She went on the trip alone. And because she feared a 14-day quarantine after arriving back in Slovakia, she turned off her phone and discarded her SIM card. We talked about vaccinations, that the lady did not want one and was afraid that she would have to quarantine when she returned, which she also did not want.”
Ms Adamcova was spotted on the island of Krk on 12 September by a fishing couple who called for aid. The dispatched rescue team used off-road vehicles and walked more than two miles to get to Ms Adamcova. Police discovered a backpack 500 yards away from her, but no ID or money was found.
Croatian police told The Daily Beast she appeared to be Eastern European by that she spoke the “Queen’s English”.
Police added that she was very confused when she was found. But that was not the case when she encountered the tourists from the Czech Republic.
“She was very intelligent, she told us that she spent some time in England, so she spoke good English,” they said. She spoke to them in Slovak and didn’t have the scratches she could later be seen with. “She was just bitten by mosquitoes, she complained a lot about them and said that if she knew about them, she would not have travelled to Croatia.”
When she was found, she was dehydrated, emaciated, and had scabs from deep cuts to her face, but she had no scarring on her feet, which would be expected of someone who would have got onto the island across its rugged shoreline.
It remains unclear how she ended up on the island, why no one had reported her missing, or how she survived in an area with dangerous animals.