Mad Scientist Week: The Line Between Madness and Genius Can Be Thin

Palm Beach Express-Times

Jupiter Woman Disappears During Civil Commitment Hearing

JUPITER, Fla.  A woman disappeared today in the middle of a hearing on whether she should be committed to a mental institution.

Adele Mansfield, 42, disappeared while demonstrating a device she called a “teleporter.” Her obsession with the device, which she said could transport people “anywhere in the universe,” was one of the reasons her family sought to have her committed.

“I mean, she’s hardly come out of the garage in months,” her daughter, Tiffany, 15, told reporters. “And when she does come in the house, it’s just to watch Star Trek.”

The woman’s husband, Donald Jones, 43, declined to speak to the press.

Ms. Manfield’s lawyer, Graham Reynolds, was shaken by the events. “She begged me to let her demonstrate the device at the hearing. And I didn’t see any harm in it. I was supposed to represent her best interests and I thought it might be best if the court saw the depth of her obsession. But now I don’t know. Where could she be?”

Asked if it was possible that the device had worked, Mr. Reynolds said, “That’s crazy.” But as he walked away, he was heard to mutter, “Everything about this case is crazy.”

The county attorney’s office, which handles civil commitments, refused to comment.

The police are searching for Ms. Mansfield and have asked anyone with any information to please come forward. A spokeswoman emphasized that Ms. Mansfield is not considered dangerous to others.

Ms. Mansfield holds advanced degrees in physics from Stanford University. She formerly taught introduction to physics at Palm Beach State College.

A spokesman for DARPA, the technology development arm of the U.S. Defense Department, declined to comment on a rumor that the agency is also seeking Ms. Mansfield.

The Jupiter Express-Times received an anonymous email just before press time that said, “I told you it worked.” The newspaper was unable to verify whether it had been sent by Ms. Mansfield.

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