THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — The daughters of a missing Bronx mom were horrified on Christmas Day to receive text messages from their missing mother’s phone stating their mom, Arlena Johnson, is dead.
“Around 8 or 9 p.m. on Christmas, my mom’s boyfriend and my older sister received a text message stating my mother was raped and murdered,” daughter Ashannia Johnson told PIX11 News.
Ashannia Johnson provided PIX11 News copies of the text messages the family said it received from her mother’s phone.
“Your mother is in Brooklyn Hospital,” said one text to the woman’s oldest daughter.
Another text said, “I’m sorry, she’s dead.”
The text messages went on with some other cryptic comments.
“I have to pay attention to where they taking her. She fought for her life,” another message said.
Arlena Johnson has an extended family of relatives living in Pennsylvania, the five boroughs, and Tennessee. Her sister, Rae Dean, said she tried to file a missing persons report on the phone but was told Arlena Johnson had an outstanding criminal warrant.
An NYPD spokesperson told PIX11 News Thursday evening a family member in New York City should call 911 right away and say “we want to make a missing report right now.” The spokesperson said this situation is considered an emergency.
Arlena Johnson, 45, has had a long-time male friend in the Bronx, where she lives, who was also allegedly receiving text messages on Christmas.
He forwarded them to Johnson’s daughters.
“Imma get in trouble,” the alleged text to the woman’s boyfriend said. “They’re trying to put her in a f—d up situation. Please u can’t tell who I am she’s asked about u so please come in the morning and claim her body…”
The text to Arlena Johnson’s oldest daughter made reference to a tattoo the woman had on her arm with the daughter’s birth name.
Ashannia Johnson said her mother was supposed to visit Brooklyn on Christmas and cook for her oldest daughter. But the mom never got there.
Arlena Johnson’s sister, Rae Dean – who lives in Pennsylvania – told PIX11 News a relative went to Johnson’s Bronx apartment to do a wellness check and walked through it with a “live” camera.
“The bed was made to look like she was laying in the bed,” she told PIX11 News. “Pillows were set up to make it look like there was a person there.”
Rae Dean said she’s checked multiple hospitals in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.
“We checked Brooklyn Hospital,” she said. “No Jane Does. Nobody with my sister’s description. No description of anyone coming in with an overdose or as a homicide.”
The family acknowledged Arlena Johnson had a history of substance use. When Ashannia Johnson was 9, she said she and her two sisters were put in foster care but still maintained close ties to their mother. Rae Dean said that her sister didn’t have a record of serious criminal offenses.
The NYPD said Arlena Johnson’s apartment is located within the jurisdiction of the 48th Precinct and that is the precinct that would likely handle the initial investigation.