Officials Search For Missing East Harlem Mother

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some city leaders on Sunday joined the search for a mother from East Harlem who has been missing for more than two weeks.

Officials say Yuridia Merino, 32, has been missing since Friday, Jan. 13. The mother of two was last seen preaching to people walking near East 96th Street.

On Sunday afternoon, State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez and a local family advocacy group held a news conference asking for New Yorkers to help find Merino.

Merino is 4 feet 11 inches tall and 120 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a black hooded jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or (888) 57-PISTA, log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

The call for help comes after police found a woman unconscious and unresponsive in Washington Heights on Saturday.

Sources tell CBS2 she is believed to be the Bronx mother who has been missing since Monday. Her description and clothing matched those of the mother, sources said.

Joan Viau, 52, hasn’t been seen since she took her 31-year-old son, Joseph Garcia, for a doctor’s appointment at a VA facility in Kingsbridge.

Garcia was arrested Friday and charged with grand larceny for allegedly using his mother’s credit card after she went missing.

Days after her disappearance, blood was found inside Viau’s bedroom and her car and her family feared for her safety.

EMS responded to Washington Heights on Saturday and pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

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