BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Timothy Bryant turned 49 years old this year and he’s carried deep sadness in his heart for half of that life.
“What would you expect, if a guy snatched your child?” Bryant asked PIX 11.
The baby-snatching is only part of the story.
The baby boy’s mother—Bryant’s partner, Monique Rivera—mom to Bryant’s three, young sons—was found murdered on City Island in the Bronx, a day after Monique and the infant, Andre, left their apartment in Bushwick on March 29, 1989.
“They just told me that something had happened to my mother and she wouldn’t be coming home,” Thomas Bryant, now 29, told PIX 11.
Back on March 28, 1989, Monique Rivera was walking with her three sons in Bushwick, when she encountered two women driving a burgundy, Pontiac Grand Am with Maryland plates. One of the women was about 22 years old and had red hair. The other woman was about 30.
The two women struck up a conversation with the young mother and took her shopping.
The next day, March 29, 1989, the women called Monique Rivera at her apartment and asked her to take the six-week old baby, Andre, to go shopping with them again. Timothy Bryant’s sister, Patricia, babysat for the two, older boys—Timmy, then seven, and Thomas, nearly five.
“My son-in-law called me that night asking me if Monique was here,” recalled Rosemary Rivera at her Brooklyn home. “I said ‘Monique?! What would she be doing here at 10 o’clock at night?’”
The following day, a jogger on City Island found a young woman’s body in the woods on City Island, in the Bronx. After several days, Timothy Bryant identified the victim as Monique.
“She had blunt trauma to the head, and it looked like they had used a scarf around her neck,” said Bryant.
“I felt like I’d have a nervous breakdown,” Rosemary Rivera said, “and the baby. Where was the baby?”
There was no sign of Andre, and his fate remains a mystery to his family all these years later. His apparent kidnapping happened the same year that two, African-American children were snatched from the same park in Harlem…..three months apart. There was suspicion at the time the children were victims of a baby-selling ring.
“I would like to know what he’s doing with himself,” said Thomas Bryant recently, hopeful that his baby brother is still alive. Andre would now be 24. “I basically would like him to know he has an actual family. And, you know, I would like to see him….see what kind of man he developed into, see where his life took him.”
Thomas Bryant told PIX he stayed focused, after his mother was murdered, finished high school, joined a union, and now does construction work. But the oldest brother, Timmy, was convicted on drug and gun charges and is now doing time in federal prison.
The family provided photos to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which made an “age progression” photo of what Andre might have looked like at 22 years old.
“Maybe, one day, he’ll walk up and say, ‘Hey, you’re my father,’ said Timothy Bryant. “You’ve got to keep hope. You can’t give up hope.”