BROOKLYN -- After PIX11 aired the first report about missing Brooklyn mom, Chelsea Cobo — who wasn’t home to celebrate her baby son’s first birthday July 11 — more than 100,000 people viewed it on the Mary Murphy Mystery Facebook page within the first, few days of its airing.
Tens of thousands more watched the story on PIX11 Facebook and shared the piece around the country. Chelsea Cobo, 22, vanished on May 6.
“I was never really a big Facebook person,” Rose Cobo observed recently. “I used to call it Fake Book. But now, I call it my Best Book.”
Cobo, who raised Chelsea since the young mom was 13-months-old, has been overwhelmed by the response to Chelsea’s story, which was undoubtedly fueled by the sweet nature of Chelsea’s baby boy, Christopher, who clapped his hands with delight and put up one finger, to signal that he was making his first birthday last week.
Hundreds of people have posted Facebook comments, and Rose Cobo is following up on some, to see if posters have information on Chelsea’s whereabouts.
“Every share counts,” Cobo said from her home in Borough Park, Brooklyn — where she was feeding Christopher meat balls on a recent evening.
Rose Cobo insists that Chelsea used to be a homebody and was devoted to her baby son. But Rose told PIX 11 things started changing after Chelsea’s biological mother died in March.
Chelsea was soon hospitalized for depression at Coney Island Hospital, and Rose Cobo said Chelsea’s hospital roommate and a male visitor may have introduced the young mom to hard drugs. Cobo said Chelsea tested positive for opiates during a hospital emergency room visit April 26th.
That scenario doesn’t seem implausible to Carole Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA, which seeks to end sexual trafficking and exploitation of children, women and men.
“It’s perfectly possible that exploiters took advantage of a vulnerable person,” Smolenski told PIX11. “It happens all the time.”
“Somebody who is going through something in their life, that makes them vulnerable, open to a story or luring,” Smolenski observed. “And drugs play a very big role in that. In making you controllable. By continually pumping someone with drugs, it makes somebody disoriented. It makes them now know where they are.”
Rose Cobo said this week, “Obviously, she’s on something if she’s not home. The only thing that could be preventing her is either some kind of drug or being held somewhere.”
After Chelsea Cobo’s story aired, Rose said she received a call from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. This followed a call from the NYPD’s “Crime Stoppers” unit. Cobo told PIX 11 she’s also been contacted by the 60 Precinct in Coney Island, where a couple of people reported they saw a woman who looked like Chelsea in recent weeks.
PIX11 went to Coney Island, seeking clues about Chelsea, but the people we met only recognized her face from flyers posted on subway trains.
Rose Cobo told PIX11 she still feels Chelsea’s presence in her life. “We’re connected,” Cobo said. “I think her spirit may be dead, but is she dead? No. I feel her breathing. I know she’s there, and she knows I’m coming.”
Cobo has started a Facebook page called “Help Find Chelsea Cobo” and anyone with information can also call the NYPD at Crime Stoppers, 1-800-577-TIPS.AlertMe