NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A missing woman with dementia in Manhattan was found by a stranger who recognized her from a smartphone app.
The woman, in a long winter coat with her hood up, was walking alone on East 6th Street by Avenue D Tuesday evening.
Cindy Marmolejos didn’t know her, but knew she needed help.
“She was going back and forth pacing. She looked afraid, she was nervous, she looked cold. She looked lost, you could just tell,” Marmolejos told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
The 35-year-old was waiting in her car around 5 p.m. while her husband ran in the corner grocery store. To pass the time, she scrolled through Citizen App on her phone.
“I was looking through my alerts and noticed there was a lady missing since the morning.”
Police were looking for a 68-year-old woman with dementia who was last seen on Stanton Street seven hours earlier.
“That’s the lady. That’s the lady that’s been missing since the morning,” the Good Samaritan said.
But she wasn’t sure.
“I was kinda confused because she had white sneakers on not black as the description said in the app,” Marmolejos explained.
So she waited, watching and recording.
“I dunno if that’s her right there. She got white sneakers on,” the concerned citizen said into her phone.
“I just wanted to make sure she was safe. Even if it wasn’t the lady, that lady looked like she needed help,” Marmolejos added.
The minutes passed and the woman was starting to wander away.
“Something about it just told me it was her and I went with my instinct,” she told Bauman.
So once her husband came out of the grocery store Marmolejos told her husband, “oh my god get the police.”
“We saw cops coming down so my husband flagged them down and told them to pull over.”
It turns out her instincts were right.
“She took off her hoodie and that’s when they noticed it was her and put her in the back of the police car,” Marmolejos said.
The woman lives about eight blocks away in housing for adults with mental illnesses. Staff members are the ones who reported her missing. They didn’t want to go on camera, but told CBS2 she’s back there safe and doing well.
“She’s safe and that’s all that matters to me,” Marmolejos added.
The hero says her grandmother also suffers from dementia, which helped her recognize the missing woman’s behavior.