EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — A Texas mom who flew to New York before Christmas to look for her troubled, missing daughter moved her one-woman search operation to the Broadway Junction train station this week.
“The last lead I had was train ‘C,'” Noemy Brinson, the mother of Dulce Lopez, told PIX11 News.
She’s focusing on Broadway Junction because it’s “a connecting place.”
At least five train lines — the A, C, L, J and Z — come through Broadway Junction in the East New York section of Brooklyn, where elevated trains meet the subway. Brinson, who’s lived for the past 20 years in Longview, Texas, is getting a quick education about the New York City Transit system.
Her daughter, Dulce — who is 31 — last spoke to her family on Nov. 29, shortly after Thanksgiving, revealing to her mother and sister that she was feeling stressed in her relationship. Lopez was living with a new boyfriend in a basement apartment in the Bronx.
Lopez had suffered manic depressive episodes in the past, when she was living in Texas, but her sister said Lopez had stabilized and was working as a receptionist when she moved to the Bronx.
“I know that her mind is probably worse,” the concerned mother said about Lopez, who’s now been missing more than two months.
The boyfriend told Lopez’ mother he didn’t know where she’d gone. At one point, an ambulance had been called to her apartment when Lopez was having a mental health issue.
When Noemy Brinson flew to New York on Dec. 19, she had already been notified on Facebook about her missing daughter being seen on Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx, near 207th Street.
A small group of women in the neighborhood said Lopez referred to herself as “Beyonce,” and was sitting on a crate outside a deli for two days. But Lopez was gone by the time her mother got to the Bronx.
The worried mom spent Christmas Day searching the streets and she didn’t take a break on New Year’s Day.
Over the last six-and-a-half weeks, Brinson has only returned to Texas once, for just five days.
“I don’t want this to finish in a tragedy,” the mother said, her voice choked with emotion. “I want her to be found.”
And at a time when transit crime has kept some subway riders away from the system, Brinson has been riding alone late into the night.
“When I feel weak, I just pray,” the mother told us. “And I know that God is with me, and I know that God is with my daughter. I send angels to my daughter.”
Brinson said a Brooklyn woman had provided a room where she could sleep, and a local pastor gave the mom a 30-day unlimited MetroCard, so she could keep riding the trains and buses during her search. Her Texas community had also banded together to raise money and send Brinson money for food.
One woman who contacted Brinson by phone said she’d seen her daughter sitting on a train, directly across from her.
“She told me she seemed disturbed, and she was kind of afraid,” the mother said, quoting the subway commuter.
PIX11 News learned a search of city shelters didn’t turn up any sign of Dulce Lopez.
You can see the fatigue and concern on her mother’s face, but Noemy Brinson told PIX11 News she’s not quitting her search.
“I’m praying constantly, constantly on my knees,” Brinson said. “That’s my faith. I’m still here, and I’m not going to stop until I find her.”
Since Thursday is National Missing Persons Day, PIX11 News wanted to share standard procedure for families who want to file a police report about a loved one who’s disappeared.
Generally, the police report is filed at a local precinct. If the person is a child, he or she would almost immediately be eligible for an Amber Alert.
Someone like Dulce Lopez, who struggled with mental health issues, would be considered a missing, vulnerable adult. People older than 65 who go missing would be eligible for a Silver Alert.
There are also databases that exist for people who have been missing for a period of time.
The phone number for the National Missing & Unidentified Persons System, known as NamUs, is 1-800-843-5678. This contains a database for missing persons and also unidentified persons who have turned up dead in various jurisdictions.
In New York State, there is a Missing Persons Clearinghouse for children, teens and vulnerable adults. The phone number is 1-800-346-3543.
There is also a well-known organization called the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that handles missing children and teens.
Roughly 600,000 people go missing in the United States annually, according to NamUs. Most of them are located, although sometimes the outcome is not good.