Update: Daniel Otero was found Thursday morning in a Mount Vernon, N.Y. hospital
Police are searching for 24-year-old Daniel Otero, who went missing Monday in Lindenwood.
Otero has schizophrenia and his family blames the mental disability for his disappearance. The family is particularly worried about his disappearance because he’s never done anything like this before.
“He’s very scared of everything and he’ll listen to anything a stranger tells him to do,” Luz Lopez, Otero’s sister, said. “If you tell him to jump off a roof he’ll do it.”
Otero disappeared after walking a relative to Lindenwood’s P.S. 232 on Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday he briefly appeared in Wyckoff Heights Medical Center before disappearing again, according to Lopez, who found out about the visit after calling all the local hospitals in the area.
A representative from Wyckoff Medical Center confirmed that Otero flagged an ambulance down in Lindenwood around 3 a.m. Tuesday, complaining about neck pains. In the hospital they found that his calves were covered with ticks but since there was nothing wrong with him and he appeared to be alert and coherent he was allowed to leave the hospital at 5 a.m. It was only later that day that cops alerted all hospitals to keep Otero if he shows up again.
Lopez and her friend Phelipa Mirabile spent Tuesday night and Wednesday spreading out missing person fliers with basic information about Otero.
Otero takes several different medications for his schizophrenia and Lopez worries that the longer he stays missing, the harder it will be to find him. He was released from Queens Hospital on June 6 for treatment.
“He’ll get more and more disoriented as time goes by,” she said. “He’s very sweet and religious. He wouldn’t hurt anybody but we’re afraid others will hurt him.”