2007_01_henson.jpgThe Post has this crazy story about how a woman used various identities to attend schools like Columbia, Harvard, and California State. Naturally, she studied criminology and psychology! It sounds like a Law & Order: Criminal Intent multi-episode arc in the making.

The Post reports that Esther Elizabeth Reed used the identity of "Brooke Henson" to attend Columbia as a graduate student, but was exposed when she tried to apply for a summer job as a housekeeper using Henson's birthday and Social Security number - the employer searched her name and found that Brooke Henson was missing from Traveler's Rest South Carolina. From the Post:

"She realized that the woman who had come to her had the same birth date and had a resemblance to the picture of Brooke Henson on the Web site, so she immediately called the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division," [Travelers Rest, where the real Brooke Henson lived, police Investigator Jon] Campbell said. They, in turn, notified the NYPD, who sent a detective to Reed's campus apartment.

"Everyone suspected it was probably a case of a stolen identity, and we fully expected her to say, 'You got me. I'm not Brooke Henson,' " Campbell. "Well, to our surprise, she said the exact opposite."

Reed, pretending to be Henson, claimed she was estranged from her family and had run away.

Campbell suspects that the real Henson is dead, so he asked the NYPD to get a DNA sample and fingerprints...only Reed-as-Henson never showed up and left her apartment, leaving everything except "her cat, her toothbrush and her brushes and combs." She's certainly watched enough detective shows to know not to leave behind traces of DNA!

Columbia hasn't helped the investigation (there's a "flag had been placed on her file because she had once been the victim of domestic abuse"), nor have Harvard or Cal State. Authorities have found out that Reed accessed Henson's information through a Vermont State Police computers, but they don't believe she's involved with Henson's disappearance. However, when you hear all the other elements of her story together, it's strange: She dated cadets at West Point and tried to have one give her a certificate from the assault school; received large amounts of money from Europe; and went to Florida for plastic surgery. Other interesting facts: Reed herself has been missing since 1999, after forging her sister's checks, and that Reed hasn't run up any debts while using the other identity.