Brenda Heist, a wife and mother of two who disappeared over a decade ago from her home in Lilitz, PA has resurfaced this week, alive and well in south Florida.

Heist, who has been living as a homeless person in the Florida Keys for the past several years turned herself into police on Friday, telling them that she may be wanted in Pinellas County, PA, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities in Florida checked into police records in Pennsylvania, which listed the 54-year-old woman as missing since 2002 and possibly deceased, according to reports. 

The Florida authorities contacted police in Lilitz to inform them that Heist is indeed alive and has been taken into protective custody.

Lilitz Borough Police Detective Sgt. John Schofield, who had been assigned to Heist's case, confirmed the woman's identity from specific details as well as photographs provided by Monroe County authorities in Florida. Schofield flew down within days to meet with and speak to Heist, according to reports.

"She was very emotional; she hung her head; she's ashamed. She was crying when I met with her. She knows what she did was completely wrong, but all that while, she'd never made one effort to call or contact her family at all," Schofield told WPTV in an interview.

In February of 2002, Heist was going through a divorce with former husband Lee Heist and was dealing with personal and financial issues. After finding out that she had been denied for housing assistance that she applied for, she broke down into tears while sitting on a bench in a local park.

Heist was then approached by a group of homeless individuals who tried to comfort her and then went on to invite her to hitchhike with them down to Florida. Heist agreed and traveled with the group to southern Florida where she lived on the streets for most of the 11 years that she was missing, according to reports.

The woman's ex-husband Lee, who was initially considered a suspect in his wife's disappearance but was eventually cleared, successfully petitioned the Pennsylvania courts to declare his missing wife legally dead in 2010. After collecting on her life insurance policy, Lee remarried.

At a news conference held on Wednesday, Lee told reporters that he was angry over the impact that Brenda's disappearance had on the couple's children.

The children, now aged 19 and 23, told their father that they had a desire to reconnect with their mother but that they intend to take the process at a slow pace, the Huffington Post reports.