First, you need to find out where the IRA is established. If the company won't tell you or can't tell you, then you should find an attorney and begin the process of locating the IRA through legal means, or collecting the money through litigation.
In the meantime, there are numerous alternatives to taking out a hardship withdrawal. Many many, that will save your IRA. I suggest you look into those alternatives. You can use credit cards to live off and later file bankruptcy (IRAs are completely protected through bankruptcy up to $1mil), you can look into SSI, SSDI, unemployment, etc. If there is an alternative, take it.
Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC