Missing Tulsa woman found in Missouri

Tuesday, August 3rd 2004, 1:53 pm
By: News On 6

The search is over for a missing Tulsa woman who suffers from a rare eating disorder.

21-year-old Katie Vaclaw has Prader-Willi Syndrome, which makes her constantly feel hungry. Left unsupervised, people with Prader-Willi can eat uncontrollably.

Vaclaw slipped away from her caretaker during a trip to the Promenade Mall Monday afternoon.

The News on 6 has learned that Vaclaw has been found safe in Kansas City Tuesday. She's on her way back to Tulsa.

Psychologists say it's common for people with the syndrome to try to escape so they can get the food they crave. They say she may try to shoplift food from supermarkets and restaurants and will likely make up elaborate stories to persuade people to give her food. Psychologist Susan Phillips: "It must be like starving to death and if you're starving, you're going to do literally anything to get extra food."

They say Katie could eat discarded or spoiled food, or do something dangerous like hitchhiking to get food. Prader-Willi Syndrome is found in people of both sexes and all races.

Even though it's considered rare, PWS is the most common genetic cause of obesity that has been identified.

You can learn more about Prader-Willi Syndrome by calling 1-800-926-4797.