NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 5-year-old girl was found alone at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at the height of the Monday morning rush, and police said her father is a person of interest in her mother’s murder.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officer passing by saw her all by herself at the terminal. The girl apparently told police that her father told her to wait there, but he never returned for her.
Stamford police said when officers were interviewing the girl at the terminal, she was able to tell police she lived in Connecticut and was able to give authorities directions to her home in Stamford.
With her head buried in the shoulder of a Port Authority official, the girl was carried down an escalator – exhausted – hours after she was allegedly abandoned.
“A little girl like that — we got so many people that would take her,” said Ray Mucia of Brooklyn.
The scenario left Mucia and his friend, Ron, shaking their heads while having a cup of coffee at a bus terminal cafe.
This world, you don’t know what’s going on today,” Ron said.
“I’m very thankful the right people picked her up and called police,” Mucia said.
The uniformed Port Authority police officer found the girl standing by herself near a window next to a Hudson News stand. When she told Port Authority police what happened, police in Stamford, Connecticut stepped in.
“The girl had the wherewithal to give us her home address which led us to Courtland Avenue in Stamford,” said Stamford police Lt. Tom Barcello.
While doing a well-being check at the apartment where the girl lived, they found her mother – a woman of Guatemalan descent – dead on the third floor, police said.
“Hopefully, the little girl didn’t witness anything or she will have trauma,” said Pete DeSantis.
No cause of death has been identified for the mother, but police late Monday were treating the death as a possible homicide due to injuries to her body.
Sources said there were signs of a struggle.
Now, Stamford police need help tracking down Elmer Gomez Ruono, 32.
“He’s the child’s father. We believe he is the one who did abandon her in the Port Authority,” Barcello said “Port Authority will be conducting their own investigation, but we want to question him regarding our Stamford incident.”
Ruono stands 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. He has long black hair, a medium build and medium complexion.
Police late Monday were talking to this man, who sources said was the ex-boyfriend of the woman found dead. He has not been arrested in the case.
Anyone with information on Ruono’s whereabouts is asked to call Stamford police.