Grandmother from Honduran family that just arrived in the U.S. goes missing from Harlem shelter center

NEW YORK — A family in search of a better future was granted entry into the United States, only to find agony.

They were staying at separate family shelters while applying for refugee position when their elderly relative was misplaced by staff workers.

Margareta Bernadez has now been missing for eight days.

CBS2’s Astrid Martinez has more on the family’s desperate search for their loved one.

Maidy, her husband, children, and mother-in-law fled their homeland of Honduras to escape threats of violence. They recently arrived in the U.S. in search of peace.

Instead, they’re living a nightmare.

Fighting back tears, Maidy asked CBS2 not to show their identity because of their permanent refugee position. She explained that after traveling for months from the Mexico border, the family arrived in the Bronx on May 31 in the middle of the night.

But PATH DHS Assessment Shelter couldn’t house all of them. The family was forced to take 68-year-old Margareta at 2 a.m. to Franklin Women’s Shelter in the Bronx.

Maidy said in Spanish that when the family arrived at Franklin, the staff admitted the grandmother but refused to take Margareta’s depression and schizophrenia medication.

They also never wrote down a number to contact the family.

The family went back to Franklin shelter to get updates on Margareta, but they say they were denied information for five days.

Friend of the family Judy McQuistion is helping them navigate the issue and said she learned Margareta was sent to another shelter in Harlem.

“They had a van that was leaking oil and they were concerned about the van, putting people in the van. So they gave her a MetroCard and told her to take the subway, which was three stops away,” McQuistion said.

Margareta doesn’t speak any English.

The family said the shelter didn’t report Margareta missing until the family called police on Monday.

Police said Margareta has been missing since June 7.

“And they come all the way to New York and thinking they’re going to be finally safe and the worst thing has happened to them,” McQuistion said.

CBS2 reached out to the Franklin Center in the Bronx, but did not closest hear back, and also tried to contact the director of the Jardin Central Pre-Assessment Shelter in Harlem.

Police are also searching for Margareta. She has short white hair and was last seen wearing a brown sweater and white sneakers.

CBS New York Team


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