May 2nd, 2013
11:10 PM ET

Son to mom: We did well after you left

Lee Heist Jr., the son of the woman who surfaced after disappearing 11 years ago, looks back on the day she left. "I remember we walked home from school, it was only a couple of blocks away. And she wasn't there. We assumed that - my sister and I assumed she was grocery shopping or something," he said.

He tells Anderson Cooper he's experiencing mixed emotions right now knowing she's alive and where she's been for over a decade.

Brenda Heist told police she abandoned her family and life in Pennsylvania more than a decade ago to escape her problems. She hitchhiked to Florida with a group of homeless people.

Since that day when she was last seen dropping her kids off at  school, Brenda hasn't contacted her family. She was declared legally dead after an exhaustive search. Last week the 54-year-old turned herself in to Key Largo, Florida authorities.

Asked what Lee would say to his mother, he told Anderson he would question why she left and he wants her to ask for forgiveness. "I really wish she could see what became of my family because we've done very well despite it ... I kind of want her to see what she missed out on," he said.

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