Monticello, NY - The 78-year-old woman’s mind was clouded by dementia. But she recognized the brunette with a slight smile in the faded picture from the 1970s detectives showed her.

“Me,” the woman uttered in a voice barely above a whisper.

The picture helped investigators visiting an assisted-living facility near Boston last month verify they had finally found Flora Stevens. She had been a $2.25-an-hour chambermaid at the grandest hotel in upstate New York’s Catskills when she was dropped off at a hospital one summer night in 1975 and vanished.

The discovery of a woman missing for 42 years drew widespread attention and news coverage, accompanied by a police photo of the smiling woman in a wheelchair with a teddy bear in her lap and flanked by the beaming detectives.

But the elation was mixed with mystery. Where did she go and what did she do all those years? Was she running? From what? Investigators were able to put together some of the timeline, including stints at other care facilities. But with the woman’s condition and the passage of time, many other details may never be known.

“To be honest, I don’t think she ever really wanted to be found,” said Festus Mbuva, a former worker at the Boston-area facility who helped care for her for a decade. “You can tell something happened in her past that she didn’t want any part of.”

Florence “Flora” Stevens was among the hundreds of hotel workers who once flooded into this lake-laden area north of New York City each summer. She worked for several summers at The Concord, a sprawling resort with more than 1,200 rooms that was considered a jewel of the Catskills’ Borscht Belt.

A Concord job application from 1975, signed “Mrs. Flora Stevens” in neat cursive, says she went to high school less than two hours away in Yonkers.

The man she listed as her husband, Robert Stevens, worked there, too, though it’s not clear what he did there. Police have not confirmed they were actually married. Her application includes no phone number or local address. She listed an address in Seattle.