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Police: Missing Marisha Cheong Of Jamaica Did Not Disappear Voluntarily

24-Year-Old Vanished On Dec. 19, And Now Family And Friends Fear Foul Play
The missing persons poster for 24-year-old Marisha Cheong. (Photo: CBS 2)

The missing persons poster for 24-year-old Marisha Cheong. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Surveillance video and text messages are among the clues as police search for a young woman, who vanished under suspicious circumstances.

Under a Christmas tree in the Jamaica section of Queens, Jenny Persaud has gifts waiting for her friend who vanished on Dec. 19 – 24-year-old Marisha Cheong.

“Very sad, we miss her terribly. She’s always over. She’s the sweetest person ever and it’s not like her to just run away,” Persaud told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday.

Detectives from the 103rd Precinct agree, and sources told CBS 2’s Aiello that investigators believe Cheong did not disappear voluntarily.

She lived in Jamaica with a longtime boyfriend, L.J. Balkaran, a delivery driver who freelances in the film industry.

Aiello spoke with him Wednesday. He was asked if he had anything to do with Cheong’s disappearance and he said, “Oh no. No. Just now, finding her, that’s all we care about.”

Balkaran told police he was supposed to pick Cheong up at the Forest Hills subway stop on Dec. 19, but she never showed up.

Cheong’s mother said her daughter called every day, but on the 20th she got a brief text message from her phone instead.

Persaud said she also got text messages that day.

“That whole day she texted me; she didn’t call me,” Persaud said, adding that was “very odd.”

CBS 2’s Aiello has learned police confiscated video from at least one surveillance camera on the missing woman’s block, and four miles away scoured for evidence in a marshy area of Howard Beach.

Family and friends said they fear the worst.

“She’s not gonna just hide. She wouldn’t put us through this. That’s not her,” Persaud said.

Anyone who can provide answers is urged to call police.

Family members said Cheong never left home without her iPad, but it was left behind when she vanished, along with both of her winter coats.

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