Details of Disappearance
Wells was last seen in San Diego, California on April 10, 1998. She left the YWCA shelter where she lived to pick up her heart medication at the Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. She was carrying bus tokens and $2 in cash at the time.
Wells never arrived at the VA hospital, never returned to the YWCA shelter and has never been heard from again. Her loved ones describe her as intelligent and streetwise and stated she has traveled all over the country. She had a history of dropping out of sight for months at a time and then reappearing, but after her 1998 disappearance, she never resurfaced.
In 2013, the Los Angeles Times did an article about the homeless population in Santa Monica, California. A photograph of a homeless woman was included, and Wells's daughter, Robin Wells Burton, saw the article and believes the woman in the photo is her mother. The photo is posted with this case summary.
When the woman in the picture was interviewed for the article, she said she'd been homeless for sixteen years, the length of time Wells had been missing. The name she gave was a known alias Wells used. Burton investigated further and discovered Wells had stayed in various homeless shelters throughout California and listed her daughter as an emergency contact.
In mid-2014, for the first time since her disappearance, Wells's Social Security number was used again. In the spring of 2017, Burton got multiple tips that her mother had been sighted in the areas of Dallas, Texas and Richardson, Texas.
Multiple witnesses said they had not only seen her but knew her personally, and said she was using the first name Diane, a name Wells sometimes used. The witnesses said Wells had swollen legs, carried a large back bag and was known to ride the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) bus line around the Richardson area, but no longer ventured into Dallas itself.
Burton believes her mother is alive and leaving clues so her family might locate her, but it's possible Wells is missing voluntarily and doesn't want to be contacted by her family. Until her location and well-being are confirmed, she remains listed as a missing person.