April, 7, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The family and friends of a Woodside resident missing for two weeks are making an urgent appeal for information about his whereabouts.
Jose Vicente Ortiz, 37, whose last known address was at 41-20 53rd St., has not been in contact with his family since the middle of March when he checked in on his aunt and uncle who live in California, according to friend Azucena Rasilla.
He emailed them to ask how they were coping with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
Ortiz’s last Facebook post was on March 24 and since then he has not responded to Facebook messages and his phone is also switched off, she said.
Ortiz, who is originally from the Bay Area in California, moved to Queens about eight years ago where he worked in the restaurant industry, Rasilla said.
The family has learned that he no longer lives on 53rd Street but have been told that he was still living in the neighborhood.
Rasilla believes Ortiz was living in the Sunnyside/Woodside area and was working in Midtown Manhattan. In early March he discussed with a friend about the possibility of moving to Florida, she said.
The vague details about his life were not out of the ordinary and his family always believed he was fine, his cousin Saida Garcia told NBC’s Dateline.
Ortiz posted to Facebook regularly and when his posts stopped around two weeks ago, the family became concerned about his well being, Garcia said.
The family became even more concerned as the spread of COVID-19 worsened in New York City and in Queens, Garcia said.
The family reached out to hospitals and homeless shelters in the city but have not been able to locate him, he said.
Ortiz is described as being 5 feet and 8 inches tall with a slim build. He has dark shaved hair and a long beard. He typically wears jeans, a basic t-shirt, work boots, and an over-sized puff coat, according to Rasilla.
Anyone with information about Jose’s disappearance is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.