MANHATTAN (PIX11) — When Delilah Arocho went to work as an emergency room nurse two days after Christmas, she hoped her 13-year-old daughter would be safe with her sister in the Bronx.
Heaven-Monroe Curras, 13, had taken her Catholic high school exam in November, but Arocho was concerned that her daughter was breaking curfew whenever she spent time with her 15 year-old-cousin, Jazzymae Rivera.
On Dec. 27, the two girls never returned to Jazzymae’s Bronx home.
“I live around a lot of drugs, I live around a lot of violence, I live around a lot of gangs,” Jazzymae’s mother, Tabatha Rivera, told PIX11 News. “Obviously, my daughter is a product of my environment.”
Rivera, a mother of five, resides in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Arocho, her sister, lives in Manhattan’s Amsterdam Houses with her only child, Heaven, not far from the West Side hospital where she works. The registered nurse was on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
Now, the two moms are tracking their runaway daughters on Instagram, increasingly alarmed by what they’re seeing.
“I have pictures of her friends, walking around with guns,” Arocho said of the 13 year old. “I have pictures of her smoking blunts. I have pictures of her throwing up gang signs.”
Rivera said her daughter seemed to be drinking alcohol from Sprite bottles, “with the gang members around her saying ‘Gangsta, gangsta, this is how we do it, gangsta,’ and my daughter’s laid out on the floor.”
The moms said they’re not interested in making trouble. They just want their girls home.
They told PIX11 News the NYPD suggested they get ‘PINS’ warrants on their daughters.
“PINS stands for person in need of supervision,” Arocho said. “It’s basically a warrant for children.”
The two mothers have been forced to go to Family Court to get the warrants.
Arocho complained that police “ghost us, meaning they don’t contact us anymore. So, what are we doing? We’re going through social media.”
Rivera told PIX11 News she had a popular account called Tik Tok Mom that her 15-year-old daughter disabled. Rivera is now setting up new social media accounts.
Arocho, a single mom, said she started nursing school shortly after Heaven was born, with her mother providing a lot of child care assistance.
“I’ve been a nurse for 10 years, started as an LPN, all while I had Heaven,” Arocho said. “The time that I went to school and the time that I’m working, I could have spent more time with her. But I had a responsibility.”
Arocho and her daughter enjoyed a tropical vacation last summer, and the pictures show a smiling Heaven having a good time with her mother.
But Heaven and Jazzymae were traumatized, their mothers said, when their cousin, Jacob—just 14—died from a gunshot wound to the chest, after a weapon discharged in a Bronx lobby last August.
Rivera said it’s sadly ironic that she’s the “mom of the community” in Hunts Point.
“I help every mother. If they have an ACS case (Administration for Children’s Services), they come to me,” Rivera said.
Now, Rivera is sending a tough love message to her 15-year-old daughter.
“The games are finished, you’re on the news, you’re on Instagram,” the mother said. “This has everything to do with you, Jazzymae. Because if you come home, Heaven will come home.”
Anyone who has information on the two girl girls is asked to call 911 or your local police precinct.