Behind Tiffany Enns' Mind

000728 steve hartman head shot CBS

Instead of finding stories as most reporters do, CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman uses a highly sophisticated piece of newsgathering equipment: a dart. He asks a person on the street to throw a dart at a map to help him choose where he'll go next in search of a story. Once there, he picks a subject at random from the phone book. The premise is that "Everybody Has a Story." This time he travels to Maricopa County, Ariz.
By its very nature, a completely random tour of America eventually leads to every corner, including the dark ones.

The phone rang at a tiny guesthouse, but the person listed in the phone book, Violet Woods, doesn't even live there anymore.

Her relatives do, however, and it was Tiffany Enns who picked up the phone.

"When you said you were from TV, I thought maybe they finally caught me, I'm going to jail. I wasn't sure," she says.

Enns has no logical reason to fear the law, but she often feels like somebody's after her, watching her from cameras hidden in the lights, in the television, even in the eye of the elk.

"I can always tell when she's having a bad day," says her mother Barbara Satlsman. "I'll come home, and there'll be a towel hanging over [her] face."

"And I'll say, 'Having problems today?' And she'll say, 'Yeah,'" Satlsman explains.

Enns suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, an inherited disease, but there's often something that triggers it.

On the morning of July 4, 1978, Satlsman found her youngest son at the bottom of their swimming pool.

"The paramedics tried to work on him but he was already gone," Satlsman recalls.

But what no one knew until many years later is that the boy wasn't alone when he drowned.

His 5-year-old sister was right there watching. But she panicked, ran into the house and hid and never mentioned it to anyone.

"I just grabbed his hand, and he just slipped out of my hand. So I used to call myself a murderer. And I collected a lot of dead animals and kept them in my room," says Enns.

Today Enns spends most of her time going to Survivors United, a drop-in center where people with psychiatric disorders whittle away the day.

"It's a triage system. It's a way of prioritizing care. And those who complain the loudest,...the squeaky wheel,...gets the attention," explains Sue Davis about the organization.

Davis, an advocate for the mentally ill, says Enns and the details of her life could represent the experiences of a whole lot of other people who've been forgotten.

In fact, Enns hadn't been getting any counseling or vocational rehabilitation. The only thig to separate Enns from the streets is her medication and her mother, Davis says.

"On the good days with her I accept it...and enjoy them," says her mother.

And Enns was in good spirits. She throws the dart to guide next week's journey. "Mansfield, Ohio," she says, clearly thrilled that at least for once, the camera was real.

Since CBS met Enns, the agency responsible for her care has re-evaluated her case.

It has now been decided that she is eligible for all the services she had previously been denied, including counseling and rehabilitation.

She's also on the waiting list to get her own place to live.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved
  • Tatiana Morales

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