Family Searches Frantically For Missing Doctor Who Grew Up In Queens
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a painful mystery during the holidays, a doctor who grew up in Laurelton, Queens has gone missing.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, sheriffs in northwest Indiana found Dr. Teleka Patrick’s car abandoned in a ditch. But since her disappearance on Dec. 5, the FBI said her phone and credit cards have not been used.
On the block in Laurelton where Dr. Patrick grew up, there was emptiness. She was on the minds of those at her former school – Linden Seventh Day Adventist – in the classroom where she received straight A’s. And at the adjacent Seventh Day Adventist church, she never missed a service before she went off to college and medical school.
“She is part of our family. That’s the whole thing,” said former neighbor Caleb McMahon. “She is part of our church family. That’s like blood.”
The FBI said the 30-year-old doctor was last seen Dec. 5 at a Radisson hotel in Kalamazoo, Mich., wearing a black coat with the hood pulled up tightly.
Dr. Patrick tried to rent a room, but did not have enough cash, having accidentally left her purse at a nearby medical center where she is a first-year medical resident.
“It’s really sad to watch, because this is the last video record that exists of her before she went missing,” said her sister, Tenesha Patrick.
The doctor’s sister said the video seemed to show Teleka Patrick in a rush.
“She had her New York walk going,” Tenesha Patrick said. “She seemed to be booking it. She was in some kind of hurry.”
Next in the video, Dr. Patrick is seen getting onto a hotel shuttle, taking her back to Borgess Medical Center. She picked up her car, and from there apparently drove west.
Later that night, 911 calls began coming in to the Indiana State Police about an erratic driver headed west on Interstate 94. Police believe the driver was Dr. Patrick, and she was alone, CBS affiliate WWMT-TV, Grand Rapids reported.
Local county sheriffs and state police departments in both Michigan and Indiana said her gold Lexus ES300 was ultimately found in a ditch near Portage, Ind., some 100 miles away. Her wallet and clothes were found within.
But there was no sign of the doctor.
“This family is dealing with the disappearance of their daughter,” said Linden Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Warner Richards. ‘There are so many unanswered questions, and perhaps that is the most haunting thing.”
Dr. Patrick’s former church held a benefit concert, and raised $10,000. There are social media sites – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – all raising awareness, and efforts to help her grieving family.
“Christmas time is a time when families come together, and indeed it is so devastating to know that her family is together at this present time, and she is not there,” said Linden SDA School assistant principal Dr. Laurene Usher.
Dr. Patrick’s family has released a YouTube video titled “We Love You… We Will Find You,” with the hashtag “#FindTeleka.”
“Teleka, wanted to let you know that we love you dearly. We’re searching for you. We won’t stop until we find you,” her brother, Mattahais Patrick, says in the video.
Dr. Patrick’s family also has set up social media accounts for the search for Teleka on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FindTeleka?ref=br_tf) and Twitter, (@findteleka) and also a fundraising website, (gofundme.com/findteleka)
Dr. Patrick’s parents left their home in Florida to join the search. Reached by phone, they described excruciating pain, tear-filled days, and sleepless nights.
They said they are praying for a miracle.
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