UPPER MANHATTAN — The daughter of a New York City sanitation worker who disappeared last week clutched a folder with missing flyers when she paid a visit to Santiago Cordero’s job site on West 215th Street Monday, speaking briefly with his colleagues.
“The detectives were here yesterday,” Rebecca Lord, Cordero’s daughter, said, “trying to get information.”
Cordero, a 62-year-old maintenance worker, never went home to the Bronx last Wednesday, after getting ill at his facility and landing at New York Presbyterian-Allen Hospital five blocks away to get tested for COVID.
Cordero’s wife said he wasn’t feeling well early Wednesday morning, Jan. 5, when he dropped her off at the train station at 5:25 a.m.
“And he said, ‘Carol, I feel nauseous,'” Carol Cordero recalled. “I said, ‘Hon, maybe because of your trach.'”
Santiago Cordero had a laryngoscopy last year, when he was treated for throat cancer.
“He has a hole, just a hole,” Carol Cordero told PIX11 News. “He covers it and he can talk.”
Her husband had already dealt with heart surgery and the amputation of three toes because of diabetes.But he was determined to go back to the job.
“Through all this, he chooses to go back to work,” his daughter said.
Last Wednesday, Santiago Cordero felt he needed to take a COVID test.
His wife said Cordero went across the street to a testing site near his job but still didn’t feel well. So an ambulance took him to the nearby New York Presbyterian-Allen Hospital.
Cordero’s wife left her job downtown and wasn’t allowed inside the hospital, she said, so she went home to the Bronx and kept calling the medical center.
“Finally, I reached a doctor,” Carol Cordero said. “[He said] 99 point 9 percent that your husband has COVID.”
The worried wife kept trying to call back and said a nurse ultimately told her, “He was discharged. This was about 5 in the evening.”
When Carol Cordero asked for a copy of the discharge papers, she said her request was denied.
The family hasn’t seen Santiago Cordero since last Wednesday. His maroon Nissan Murano remains parked in the lot outside his sanitation facility on West 215th Street.
“We’ve been married 43 years, it’s going on 44,” a weepy Carol Cordero said over the phone. “We grew up together as kids. We’re always together. This is not like him. This is killing me.”
To make matters worse, Carol Cordero developed COVID symptoms on Saturday and received a positive test result on Sunday. She’s now in quarantine. Like her husband, Carol Cordero works for the Department of Sanitation, but she’s assigned to an office in lower Manhattan.
The Corderos have a daughter and son and six grandchildren.
“Everybody that knows him loves him to death,” Cordero’s daughter said, “and this is devastating right now that he’s missing and we have no clue and no answers.”
PIX11 News reached out to the communications office at New York Presbyterian Hospital Monday afternoon to ask about COVID discharge policies and we’re awaiting a response.
The New York City Department of Sanitation tweeted Monday afternoon, “NYC-we need your help. A member of our team has been reported missing. Santiago Cordero is 62 years old. He may be in need of medical attention. Please contact @nypdtips or 800-577-TIPS with any information. Your help may make all the difference.”