BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (PIX11) — After flooding the internet with pictures of Samantha Denise Primus, her family was growing increasingly concerned that the deaf woman with autism hasn’t turned up, nearly three weeks after her disappearance just before Christmas.
“If somebody is holding her, we want them to know Denise is well loved,” the woman’s cousin, Shermain Collymore, told PIX11 News, her voice breaking with emotion. “She has a home, she has her room, we need to find her.”
Primus, 46, is called by her middle name, Denise, and she’s lived with her mother for years at their home on East 91st Street in Brooklyn. But her relatives are focusing their search on another part of Brooklyn, near the A, C and J lines that travel between Brooklyn and Queens.
“I’m riding the J line,” her sister, Genevieve Primus, said Tuesday, because the J line runs from Queens, which is near Queens Hospital Center.”
One of the most troubling aspects of Primus’ disappearance concerns her release from Queens Hospital Center about 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
Primus had left her sister Joanna’s home in Elmont the day before at 4 a.m. in a driving rain. It was bitter cold outside. An ambulance picked her up about 16 hours later and took her to the Queens hospital.
“Knowing that she was found the same night, at the hospital, and they released her at 2 o’clock in the morning, when it’s obvious she’s not verbal,” Genevieve Primus noted with exasperation. “As soon as you meet her, you’ll realize she’s mentally challenged!”
Denise Primus was apparently given a list of homeless shelters and sent on her way in the dead of night.
The family received a tip last week from a nanny who went to a deli located on Nostrand and Gates avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
A woman at the deli, along with the manager, told the nanny they’d seen a woman looking just like Denise Primus walking nearby streets.
“She was wearing a red sweat suit with stripes,” manager Mo Saleh told PIX11 News Tuesday. “She was actually walking around in front of the store, and then a customer saw her two blocks away on Lexington Avenue.”
The information spurred the Primus family to drive the streets between Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg and to also check Bedford Avenue, Lee Avenue and Broadway subway stations.
Family friend Sophia Paul drove Genevieve Primus and another relative in her SUV on Tuesday.
“If she’s trying to look for help, and she tries to talk to someone, they’re not going to talk to her,” Sophia Paul worried. “They’re going to think she’s a vagrant looking for money.”
Denise Primus is one of seven sisters and three brothers born in St. Lucia, where they have an extended network of relatives. Primus’ mother was visiting Denise’s brother on the Caribbean island when she disappeared, because the brother was having surgery.
Cousin Shermain Collymore repeated her appeal for anyone who may be holding Denise Primus to release her.
“Take her to a deli! Take her to McDonalds!” Collymore said. “Take her to any fast food restaurant! Call the cops and say this is where I left her.”
“We need her home, please!” Collymore pleaded.