Mother remembers woman found dead in Maine

Posted April 23, 2011, at 12:31 p.m.
Last modified April 24, 2011, at 2:09 p.m.

WESTFIELD, Maine — The mother of a young woman whose remains were found in a remote area of Maine described her daughter Saturday as a happy child who once wrote notes in her Bible about the dangers of drugs.  

The skeletal remains of Elena Lozada, 24, of Portland were found April 16. Police said Thursday they consider her death suspicious.  

In an interview Saturday, Carrie Cronkite of Westfield said her daughter started using drugs as a teenager after being treated for depression and was in and out of rehab last summer.  

Cronkite was thrilled when her daughter called her in June to say she was in the hospital and planning to go to a residential treatment facility — “I was jumping up and down in my kitchen.” But in early July, Lozada called to say she had been kicked out of her apartment and needed money. Cronkite called the treatment center, which agreed to take Lozada, but she refused.  

“She said, ‘No, I’m going to hitch a ride to Boston,’” Cronkite said.  

Cronkite reported her daughter missing soon after that call. She said authorities have not told her any details about where her daughter’s remains were found because it is considered a crime scene  

“It’s been pure, crazy, nerve-wracking stress,” Cronkite said of the last nine months. “I haven’t been sleeping, my emotions are just going haywire. Every night, I would be on the Internet, searching for missing people, seeing if any bodies were found.”  

Cronkite moved to Maine with Lozada and her four other children when Lozada was 8 because she didn’t want to raise them in New York after her divorce. She said Lozada was a happy child who was involved in her community and church. Recently, she found a Bible her daughter had written in when she was young. One note said, “If you use drugs you go nuts. If you use drugs, you can’t do double-dutch,” a reference to a complicated style of jump rope.  

As her family gathered for Easter, Cronkite said, she was working up the courage to tell her 5-year-old granddaughter why “Aunt Elena” wouldn’t be with them.  

“She loved coming home for her birthday and holidays, but as the years went on, I could see her decline,” Cronkite said. “She’d promise me, ‘Mommy, I’m going to get myself together.”’

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