THE BRONX, NY — Noemy Brinson flew nearly 1,500 miles from Longview, Texas, to New York just days before Christmas after a Facebook post from the Bronx gave him a clue to the whereabouts of his missing daughter.
“I know she was very stressed,” Brinson said of her daughter, Dulce Lopez, 31. [broke] down.”
Bronx residents who live near the K&M Mini Mart on Bainbridge Avenue and East 207th Street decided to contact the mother after seeing a notice on Citizen App that Dulce Lopez was missing.
They recognized Lopez as the same woman who had spent time sitting on a crate outside the market in mid-December.
“She said her name was Beyonce when I met her,” one resident said. “That’s the name she gave to everyone.”
When Bainbridge Avenue shoppers observed the missing flyer on Citizen, they saw Dulce Lopez’s mother’s contact information and contacted Facebook.
The concerned mom flew to New York on December 19 and drove to where Lopez was last seen at the mini market. A detective working the case sent the mother surveillance footage from inside the market, taken around December 16, when Lopez first showed up on Bainbridge Avenue.
“It breaks my heart when I see these photos,” the mother told PIX11 News, “because I really know she needs help.”
Lopez’s sister, Darlene, flew to New York this week to help her mother search for Dulce. She told PIX11 News that her sister suffered from manic-depressive episodes in the past before moving from Texas to live in the Bronx.
“She had one maybe a year or two ago,” Darlene Lopez recalls, “and she had just stabilized, had a job in the Bronx [and] was working.”
Darlene Lopez last spoke to her sister on November 28, shortly after Thanksgiving, and said the family could tell she was not herself.
“She was in a bad place,” Darlene Lopez said, “for her sanity.”
Lopez’s mother said her daughter seemed stressed about a new relationship. Dulce Lopez, she said, was renting a basement apartment with a boyfriend in another part of the Bronx. The mother was so concerned about her daughter’s mental health that she asked the local police for a ‘health check’.
“They put her in the ambulance,” Noemy Brinson told PIX11 News, “and they saw she wasn’t right, and they still haven’t taken her to the hospital.”
Residents close to the K&M Mini Mart said Dulce Lopez showed up on Bainbridge Avenue about two weeks after her last contact with her Texas family.
“She said, ‘I’ve never been like this before,'” Christina, who didn’t want her last name used, told PIX11 News.
Christina went on to say that Dulce Lopez said, “I worked in Texas, I had a car, and I had a house.”
But when Lopez arrived in the Bronx, everything changed for her, Christina said.
Another local resident, Maritza, also spoke briefly with Dulce Lopez.
“She didn’t seem like she belonged on the streets,” the woman said. “She seemed to be well put together. Very smart and very well spoken.
But Lopez needed clean clothes after wearing the same clothes for a few weeks in all weathers, so the women of the Bronx helped her.
Bainbridge Avenue customer Christina said Lopez was candid about her troubled situation.
“She said she took the trains,” Christina told PIX11 News, “to get off the streets. She has nowhere to sleep, she was in shelters, and she was basically riding trains.
Dulce Lopez was last seen on Bainbridge Avenue on Saturday, December 18, near East 206th Street. Her mother flew to New York the next day.
And the group of women who contacted Noemy Brinson on Facebook are now on the streets with her, trying to find her daughter.
“Christmas, I was on the street,” said Noemy Brinson, as his voice cracked. “The last day of the year too.”
Brinson mostly wanders the streets looking for her daughter, but she also takes trains and buses. She doesn’t know that part of the Bronx. She said her family moved to Texas 20 years ago.
She told PIX11 News that she never thought something like this would happen to her or her family.
“There are flyers everywhere,” Brinson said, his voice filled with pain. “There are flyers, but no one calls. Nobody says anything.
The mother hopes someone will recognize her daughter and call the police.
“I try to keep my faith,” Brinson said, “I try to think she’ll be okay and I pray that the angels can be around her.”
She messaged her missing daughter, hoping the call will reach Dulce Lopez or someone who knows her current location.
“I would say we are here to help you,” the distressed mother said. “We are here to protect you, you have nothing to be afraid of. Your family is here looking for you. And we love you so much. Call us.
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