Dana Adamcova: New Details, Chat with Mystery Croatia Woman Family

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All photos copyrighr 24Sata.hr
The jetty by the fisherman's house where Dana Adamcova was dropped by waiter Stiv Sviličić
The jetty by the fisherman's house where Dana Adamcova was dropped by waiter Stiv Sviličić

It is a story which attracted global attention for several days. But while the identity of the mystery lady on Krk has now been established – 57-year-old Dana Adamcova (full name Daniela) from Slovakia – there is still much which is unknown in the events leading up to her being in such a position. 

While TCN was the first to reveal her name after various contacts from friends and well-wishers in the United States, Croatian journalists have been working more local angles to put together various pieces of the jigsaw, and yesterday we published the findings of an RTL Direkt television report.  

Another portal which has been very active – I did not realise quite how active until I requested this interview below – is 24Sata.hr. Journalist Laura Siprak and I have been exchanging information on the story, and I thought that rather than just report on what she and her colleagues had found and written about, it might be better to interview Laura in her own words. While I have been reporting on this sitting on my sofa at home, Laura and her colleagues have been all over Croatia in search of clues, as well as speaking to members of Dana Adamcova’s family in Slovakia. 

Laura kindly agreed to tell us more, and to allow us the use of these photos taken from relevant parts of the story.


(Dana Adamcova was rescued by the Rijeka branch of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service. More on that story here.)

You have reported on the case in considerable detail, and little of your findings has appeared in the international media so far. Let’s start with retracing Dana’s steps before she got to Krk. What can you tell us about her arrival to Croatia and her time before she went to Krk?

We have been on this story from the minute that authorities asked the media for help. My colleagues Meri Tomljenović, Hajrudin Merdanović and Tina Jokić gathered the first information. Soon, her friends and acquaintances contacted us.  We found out that she came to Croatia with a group of people via Regiojet train at the beginning of September. At some point, she left them and turned off her mobile phone.

A couple from Czechia spoke to her at a bus stop in Donja Vala in Drvenik (between Split and Dubrovnik) on 9 of September. We know she was there the day before because she told them that the bus didn’t come. Before that she was on Hvar and Korčula. She told the couple that she wanted to go to Lika and was happy that the bus from Donja Vala drove to the place she wanted. Tina Jokić went to Drvenik and Donja Vala to search for clues there. The next sighting was in Rijeka. There she took the bus on the 11th (it’s presumed) to go to Krk.  


(Dana Adamcova was reportedly in the south of Croatia, on the Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Korcula, before taking the bus from Drvenik to Rijeka in the north, and then on to Krk)

2. You have also managed to speak to members of her family in Slovakia. Tell us more about that.

This is the part that intrigued us the most. She has two sisters, one of them is in Trenčin, the same city Dana is from. She also has nephews and a niece. Her sister told us curtly that she doesn’t want to do anything with her. Her niece explained that they are not on speaking terms. They spoke last in July, and Dana told her sister she was going to Spain to work as a cleaner or maid. They didn’t know she was in Croatia. The Slovakian Embassy were told by the family that they don’t want anything to do with this whole case. We know she has an ex-husband in the USA and presumably one in Ireland (she told a friend she married in 2018 and had some health problems). But nobody was looking for her. The missing person report was filed by an old friend from school. 

3. What is the latest update you have on Dana’s condition, and what will happen next, do you think?

The last thing we found out is that she is still in hospital in Rijeka. She is stable but still suffers from memory loss. They are trying to determine what led to memory loss and how they can fix that. In my opinion, there are two possible solutions. Either she will stay in Croatia until she is well enough to go back to Slovakia and live on her own, or they will diagnose her and then she will be sent to Slovakia for treatment. 

4. Congratulations on all the details you have managed to discover so far. For such a global story, there was a lack of information for such a long time. If not a secret, can you tell us a little about the efforts of you and your team to gather all the information?

Thank you. We worked really hard on this. It’s not really a secret, it’s just a little bit of detective work, field work, luck and a lot of experience that some of my colleagues have.

Meri Tomljenović first went to the island of Krk where she was found and gathered the first information. Hajrudin Merdanović was in constant contact with the authorities and he investigated that alley. He has great experience in finding identities. He actually won the prize for the story of the year with the story about the Rainman who didn’t know who he was for 36 years.  Kristina Uremović, Nenad Nevešćanin and  I were vigorously searching social and foreign media, Google maps, train and bus timetables. Anamarija Burazer first spoke to the couple who saved Dana.

And then, one evening,  Neno sent me some posts with the photos of Dana A. I compared the photos and that was her. We found out who she is! We didn’t publish it immediately because we were afraid of what if that wasn’t her. We already found one woman in Zagreb that looks like her and that was a dead end. But Dana’s school friend confirmed that that was her and at 8:50 in the morning, on wednesday, we published the article ‘This could be my friend from school’. We were very cautious with everything. Also, I contacted Miriam Kelcic who really helped in discovering Dana’s identity and her path.

Next morning, Kristina went to speak with Miriam, Romana Šimek and I went to Rijeka. There we were greeted by photographer Nel Pavletić. The first thing that came to my mind was: how did she get to Rijeka. We went to the bus stop and found out that she came there on the 11th and then she sat on another bus that took her to Krk.

So we went to Čižići on Krk, where she was found. The next thing on my mind was ‘She had to buy water somewhere’. We spent two hours talking to everybody in Čižići. Then I thought ‘If she doesn’t have her phone, she has to ask somebody for directions. Where is the nearest tourist info?’ It’s in Klimno.


We got there but the office was closed. Next to the office is caffe bar Klement. I went in there and asked the waiter, Stiv if he had seen Dana. He told me ‘I drove her to the fisherman’s house where she was found’.

I couldn’t believe it! At 16:16 we did a live interview with him. Next stop was the fisherman’s house where they left her. There was nobody there but the terrain was really bad. A lot of rocks, snakes and some cows. The house was locked but somebody took good care of it. So we went back to Čižići, sat at the first fish restaurant and asked the waiter if he knew the president of the Fishermens club.

We were in luck – it was the same guy who owns the restaurant. He called his friends who were there when Dana came. One of them, Mladen, told us that she asked them how far it was to the nearest big city and that they warned her about the terrain. She still went by foot on those rocks. While we were doing that, Nenad called the tourist companies. And that’s the whole story. A lot of teamwork and thinking outside the box. I must confess, I watch a lot of crime shows, so I turned into a little detective as soon as we came to Rijeka. 


5. What was your biggest breakthough with the story?

Finding her name and the moment we found Stiv. I almost hugged him since we didn’t know much until that point. 


6. What, for you, are the great unanswered questions in this case?

I think there are four key questions. First, a witness told us she had another bag and that her phone was working in Klimno. Where is that another bag and where is the phone? Second, she told Stiv that she was from England and that there are some friends waiting for her at the fisherman’s house. That was a lie. Why did she lie? Third, how did she lose her memory? Fourth, where was she between Donja Vala near Drvenik, and Krk? 


A great team effort by the 24Sata team. Laura, pictured below, concluded the interview by saying:

I think we did our job helping the police and Dana herself with this. The media once again showed that we have the power to do great things when we just do our job.

Dana Adamcova is currently in a stable condition in hospital in Rijeka:

‘The patient is still with us in hospital. I can say that it is medically stable and that in cooperation with other competent institutions to work on further legal proceedings in order to achieve the best in the interest of the patient – her return to her home country. As for her health condition, the patient is in good condition and ready for discharge, ‘said the director of the Rijeka KBC, Alen Ružić., for RTL Danas.

If you have more relevant information on this story, please contact us on [email protected] 

You can follow Laura Siprak’s articles for 24Sata here.







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