QUEENS — The mother of a missing, high school senior from Queens was baffled when she learned his MetroCard was placing him at train stations in the Bronx.
“I have no family in the Bronx,” Raffia Kayum told PIX11, pleading with us to share the photo of her 17-year old-son, Robert Omar Rahmaan.
The teen was attending Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, a specialized school, and he’s supposed to graduate in June.
The anguished mom said her oldest child was talking about possibly joining the U.S. Army, but she noticed a change in him, two days before he disappeared.
“He came home; he was so different,” Kayum said. “He didn’t want to talk.”
“You look at someone. You know something is wrong,” the mother added. “He was always home on time. He was never late.”
But on Wednesday, April 10, Robert didn’t come back from school and he hasn’t been home since.
The family contacted police and the Missing Persons Squad is now involved.
On Wednesday, Robert’s father was in the Bronx, searching areas near the No. 2 and No. 5 subway lines.
Robert’s school-issued MetroCard has helped the police track his movements.
Shortly after Robert left school on Wednesday, April 10, his MetroCard was swiped at the Chambers Street subway station in Manhattan.
There were later swipes at the Ditmars Boulevard station in Astoria, Queens.
Most recently, his MetroCard has been swiped at a Bronx subway station.
When PIX11 asked Robert’s mother if he was feeling pressure from the demands of attending a specialized high school, she responded, “When he hit 11th grade, I stopped checking him on everything.”
Raffia Kayum has a daughter attending Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.
A younger son in 7th grade is part of an honors program, too.
“He never seemed like it was too much pressure,” Kayum said of her oldest son.
The family emigrated from Guyana to New York when Robert was just six months old.
Robert Rahmaan left his cell phone and jewelry at home and took only his oldest clothes and sneakers with him.
“He obviously planned to do this,” his mother said.
Kayum said she wasn’t especially strict with her children.
Her husband is Hindu and she is Muslim, but the children were not following a rigid religious code.
The worried mom is now concerned about what was happening outside the home to change her son’s personality.
She told PIX11 she found texts on Robert’s phone talking to a classmate about “edibles” — a term often used to talk about marijuana ingested in edible form.
School personnel and the police have spoken to the classmate.
When PIX11 told Ms. Kayum we would post the Missing Persons Flyer to help find her son, she e-mailed “Thank you so much. This means a great deal to my family and I.”
Anyone with information about Robert Omar Rahmaan can call NYPD Detective Darrel O’Neill from the Missing Persons Squad at (212) 694-7781 or Detective Borough Manhattan South (212) 477-7447.