COBBLE HILL (PIX11) — He belongs in a hospital, not on the streets.
However, that is where Celso Heredia presumably is tonight, on the streets of a city he does not know.
PIX11 News was the first to report the disappearance of the 81-year-old man on Wednesday.
“Celso vanished in there and nobody knew where he went,” said Josefina Novarro, a medical worker who last saw Heredia nearly a week ago.
Less than 48 hours after PIX11 News exposed LICH’s handling of Heredia, the hospital lost him.
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was shell-shocked at the incompetence of officials after our report.
“It’s absolutely abusive to send an 81-year-old man out on the street, in a city he doesn’t know, without the mental capacity to handle the situation.”
The NYPD issued a Silver Alert hours after they received a call about 3:30 p.m from the private security team at LICH. The hospital, which had a security detail of 58 for the day, admitted that they could not locate Heredia.
Detectives out of the 76th Precinct along with a K-9 unit were brought in to try and find the Mexican national.
Heredia, who speaks no English, was admitted on June 15 after he was picked up walking along the eastbound lane of the BQE by the NYPD.
All he had on him was a bag of possessions and $300.
He was admitted to LICH and diagnosed with “Altered Mental Status,”
PIX 11 News learned that Heredia’s only address listed is a P.O. box in Fort Pierce, Florida. The New York Times reported that he had a connection to the address of 108th North Eighth Street in Ft. Pierce, but in a call with PIX11 News, the landlord who has rented out the property for more than 10 years confirmed that she does not know him.
As for the next of kin? He has none.
However, what adds more intrigue to the case is the one-way nonrefundable Greyhound bus ticket from New York City to Fort Pierce. The trip was to last 27 hours and include three transfers.
The ticket was purchased on the Internet with a Visa card for a Celso Heredia.
He never made it.
The doctor who conducted Heredia’s late night discharge at 11 P.M. last Thursday confirmed to PIX11 News that the hospital had purchased the ticket. The doctor then added that the hospital was working on purchasing an airline ticket for Heredia.
On Tuesday, hours after the initial report aired, PIX11 News learned from a source inside of the attorney general’s office that the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is now investigating the case.
“Indefensible” is how Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., the chairman of the City’s Public Safety Committee, describes the case adding, “This is an outrage. It was clear that the plan from the beginning was to lose this poor man.”
DR. NG Berrill, a forensic psychiatrist considered by many as a foremost expert in his field, said Heredia’s leaving behind his belongings and $300 speaks volumes.
“It’s peculiar behavior. It suggests that there is poor planning skills, perhaps impulsivity, it smacks of the kind of confused state that one often finds in demented patients.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, a law enforcement source informed PIX 11 News that they have video of Heredia exiting LICH. The source added that the exit requires a code.
The source also included that Heredia does have a $318 check on him from LICH but adds, “How can he cash it if he has no ID?”
LICH had no comment today on the Heredia’s disappearance.