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Find Missing Woman, Ending Fears She Might Be Victim

April 5, 1987 GMT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A mentally handicapped woman who once lived with a man accused of torturing six women and murdering two has been found, ending concern she might be another victim, police said.

Dorothy Mae Knight, who is about 50 years old, was found Friday ″alive and well,″ said Homicide Sgt. Robert Snyder.

He said her mental condition would probably prevent police from obtaining much information from her about the accused man, Gary Michael Heidnik.

Meanwhile, a newspaper reported that police sources told it officers will excavate the back yard of a former home of Heidnik next week in a search for a missing mentally handicapped woman, but Homicide Lt. James Hansen said there were no such plans.

The house in west Philadelphia where police say Heidnik lived several years ago was already searched once, and Saturday’s Philadelphia Daily News said the back yard would be dug up for evidence about Anjanette Davidson.

But Hansen said Saturday, ″My understanding now is that she never lived there. If it turns out she did live there we’ll have to take a closer look at the house.″

There was no answer at the Daily News office Saturday. The newspaper does not publish Sunday.

Ms. Davidson is moderately retarded and has been missing for as long as eight years, said Hansen. She was last seen in 1978 or 1979 with Heidnik, said Hansen, who added that Heidnik moved out of the west Philadelphia home in 1976.

Ms. Davidson is the sister of a 34-year-old woman Heidnik was convicted of abducting in 1978 from a central Pennsylvania facility for the mentally retarded. He spent more than four years in jail and mental institutions in connection with that incident.

Heidnik, 43, was arrested March 25 after police found three starving, half- naked women in a basement dungeon of his home in north Philadelphia and human limbs in a kitchen freezer.

Heidnik tried to hang himself Thursday night, but was stopped by a guard and returned to the Philadelphia Detention Center on Friday after treatment at a hospital, authorities said.

Police have charged Heidnik and a friend, Cyril Brown, 31, with the death of a retarded woman, 24-year-old Sandra Lindsay. Heidnik has also been charged with the death of Deborah Dudley, 23, who police said was electrocuted in a watery torture pit Heidnik dug in the basement.