MANHATTAN, N.Y.(PIX11 ) Shamari Brantley, the missing Illinois woman whose cellphone was found at a Bronx train station in early September, was recognized inside an Apple store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday and brought to the hospital, according to the family.
“I was so happy,” Brantley’s relieved mother, Artimece Cotton, told PIX11 News. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
The 22-year-old woman’s sister, Chanece Lewis, said a security guard with a law enforcement background recognized the missing woman, who was using her middle name and a different last name to log onto a computer.
“Somebody called who recognized her in the store,” Lewis told PIX11 News. “It was in the middle of the night.”
Brantley, who has schizophrenia, was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
She had been missing for nearly three months.
She last spoke to her mother in late August, after leaving the family home in Wheaton, Illinois. Her mother, sister, and other relatives made multiple trips to the Bronx, passing out flyers and holding rallies.
The family received information that Brantley had been hitchhiking, catching rides from truck drivers to make her way to New York City.
In early September, Brantley’s mother learned through phone records that her daughter made contact with a man in the Bronx. The mom kept calling her daughter’s phone and finally, a woman answered, claiming she had found the device in the Zerega Avenue subway station, near the No. 6 train.
The family made several trips to the Big Apple and was supported by the Girl Vow Missing Task Force, which provided housing, food and money.
“This has been a long and challenging road. We are at ease that Shamari was located but now the work of healing begins for the family. Our next steps are to work with the family to move towards stability and examine how we get city and state systems to be more effective in their practices for missing girls. We are still waiting for Gov. (KIathy) Hochul to sign our legislation. We still have a lot to do,” said Dawn Rowe, who runs the task force.
Brantley’s cousin, Chicago-based rapper Bo Deal, also made trips to New York and posted on his popular Instagram page.
Brantley’s mother and sister were getting a morning flight Tuesday and heading for New York, where they were making plans to go directly to the hospital to see Brantley.
PIX11 News reached out to the NYPD for more information on the case.