Deadbeat Mom Returns from the Dead


11 years ago a central Pennsylvania mom, Brenda Heist, mysteriously disappeared after dropping her children off for school. Her family assumed that she was dead since she never returned. Her ex-husband had the courts declare her legally dead two years ago and remarried. Out of the blue, this week Heist resurfaced in Florida and has told authorities that she traveled there on a whim 11 years ago with homeless hitchhikers.

Brenda Heist, 53, says she’s been sleeping under bridges and surviving by scavenging food and panhandling. Authorities said that when they met with her in Florida she expressed shame and apologized for what she had put her family through all those years. But why is she returning now? Well, she’s having some health issues and, as you probably guessed, it’s hard to live the carefree homeless lifestyle with no healthcare. Her band of homeless hitchhikers probably wants to cut their dead (sick) weight.

Why did she leave? What would drive an assumingly sane woman to abandon her children and her life and run away with homeless people? Was it some sort of cult? That is the million-dollar question. Heist was going through an amicable divorce in 2002 when she received some bad news about her future housing plans. After dropping the kids off at school, she was crying in a park when some strangers befriended her. The homeless hitchhikers invited her to join them on their hitchhiking journey to south Florida. She gladly accepted, leaving her husband, two young children, and any responsibility or worry she had behind. She never looked back. What a piece of work!

We’ve all been at the point of metaphorically (or literally) crying in the park. Life gets rough sometimes, for everybody. We all live with a lot of stress. Motherhood is a constant battle of maintaining your sanity. I can’t imagine how stressful navigating your way through a divorce would be. I would assume she was feeling wound a little too tight for her own good. The housing issue was probably just the breaking point.

What bothers me so much is that when you have small children you can’t just throw your arms up and run away from the world, especially not your children. These children have spent their childhood believing that their mother was dead, only to now be forced to accept that she wasn’t dead but just decided she didn’t care enough about them to stick around. It was more important for her to be free of the stress and obligations of life. I think she is a selfish woman who made a really bad choice and now she should have to live with it.

She cannot expect a relationship with her children. She forfeited that right when she chose a group of homeless people over them. It’s obvious that the only reason she is coming forward now is because she is sick and faced with her own mortality. This woman, in my opinion, is the epitome of a deadbeat mom.


What do you think?

Screen capture courtesy of CBS


What do you think?

Deadbeat Mom Returns from the Dead

Deborah Cruz, @TruthfulMommy, is the creator of The TRUTH about Motherhood, an often humorous and brutally honest look at motherhood. She's a writer, a wife, and a work-at-home Mommy who's trying to do it all well. She live in the Midwest with her 2 little girls and her husband. She has a lot of degrees from a bunch of schools but mostly spends her days shuttling people under the age of 7, while trying to maintain her sanity and she wouldn't have it any other way. She talks a lot. She ... More

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  1. melissa says:

    this is crazy !! that lady is so selfish what if her kids got thrown on the streets she wasnt there for them why should they be there for her ….her homeless friends should care for her now !!!!!! u left your old life for a new one dont come back looking for help u walked out !!! pos as i see it how could u do that to your children !!! i have 5 children 3 disabled and i have never giving up and i strugle everyday $$$ and stress but i would never NEVER walk out on my children

  2. Deadbeat Mom, Misty Strong aka Misty Daniels aka Misty Dawn Daniels aka Misty Dawn Strong aka Misty Dawn Daniels Strong. She now resides in the Hoquiam, WA or Aberdeen, WA area and is on the prowl looking for more victims. Protect yourself!

    She preys upon men on the internet to impregnate her, so she can trap them. She has 3 children by 3 different fathers. She has abused, abandoned and neglected at least her first two, and actually led another family to believe her first child belonged to them for 2 years, knowing all well that child did not belong to them. Misty Dawn Daniels Strong, formerly of Denton, TX, Norman, OK, Oklahoma City, OK, Enid, OK, Blue Ridge, GA, Richmond Hill, GA, Hinesville, GA, Ft. Stewart, GA, El Paso, TX, Ft. Bliss, TX and the list goes on! As you can see, she’s had many addresses and always lives off someone else, a TOTAL LOSER!! She abandoned her first child as an infant, and abandoned her second child at birth. That child’s father is an illegal Mexican.

    Her last victim got his taxes garnished for her child support, because she never paid it, and is now far behind again, because he’s not around to get garnished anymore. She got pregnant by him while he was married to another woman and they had three children together. He kicked her to the curb when he got tired of her sponging off him.


  3. or she couldve stayed and wouldnt have been able to care for the kids if no housing. probably being forced to have them in sheltered care or losing custody. if she were freaked before then, losing kids mightve actually pushed her to kill herself. idk. worse couldve happened.

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