Photo courtesy of Alexander Cowan

Elizabeth Jimenez

Missing UC Berkeley student found in Sacramento church

Published: Monday, Jul. 14, 2014 - 9:45 pm

A missing UC Berkeley law student was reunited with her brother Monday afternoon in Sacramento.

Elizabeth Cowan Jimenez, 35, was found hiding in a closet at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Sacramento. She has been diagnosed with a mental health condition that she manages with medication, according to her brother Alexander Cowan.

A pastor, Wes Nordman, recognized her from a photo in a previous report by The Sacramento Bee, Cowan said.

She had been hiding at Westminster since Wednesday when she disappeared, sustaining herself on a packet of Halls cough drops that she found in one of the pews, Cowan said.

Nordman gave her water and bread, and after talking with her, he realized that she was the missing woman he had read about. As Nordman phoned law enforcement, Jimenez took off without her bag.

Cowan, who had been coordinating with UC Berkeley officials and police and mobilizing friends on social media, flew 2,800 miles from his home in Philadelphia to continue the search.

When he arrived in San Francisco, Cowan received a call from police telling him that his sister had been located but disappeared again. He said he drove to Sacramento because he knew she would return to retrieve her backpack.

He came just in time. Sitting in a room in the church, both shared a tearful reunion.

“She and I just hugged and cried together for five minutes,” he said.

Jimenez, who is close to obtaining her law degree, may have been reacting to too much stress, Cowan said. He plans to sit down with her to talk about her medication, which may have negatively affected her.

“This is obviously something that we never want to happen again,” he said.

Now having found her, he said he felt elated and exhausted.


Call the Bee’s Mozes Zarate at (916) 321-1054. Follow him on Twitter @mzarate139.

Read more articles by Mozes Zarate



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