Missing Man Reunited With Family In Queens After Four Days
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A man who was missing for four days after arriving in the United States last week has been reunited with his family in Queens.
Damon Mootoo was found by a neighbor in Jamaica Sunday. He disappeared Wednesday shortly after arriving in the U.S. from Guyana.
A NY1 viewer recognized Mootoo after watching a report by NY1 Queens reporter Ruschell Boone.
The Guyana native, who is partially deaf, says he was trying to check out his new neighborhood when he lost his way.
"I couldn't find the place back anymore and I just kept on walking," said Mootoo. "I was just checking, checking the area, checking different areas, coming back, checking, and I couldn't find it."
Mootoo says he was afraid to tell strangers and police he was lost, because he did not have any identification. He says he lived in cars and backyards, scrounging for food and water.
"The very first night when midnight was coming, I slept in a yard," Mootoo said. "The gate was open and I went there...and I just said, 'Lord just guide me...guide me and protect me and show me the way.'"
Mootoo said he finally asked several people for help, but no one did anything, until finally he asked the right person — a man who recognized him from the fliers his family posted and a NY1 News report that aired Saturday night.
“That was a great guy that did it. His name was Mike. That's all we know, and he brought him home to us,” said Mootoo’s brother in law Patrick Khan. “We want to say, Îthank you, Mike. We love you,’ and if more New Yorkers can do this what a great place this would be.”
Mootoo was found a few miles away from his family's home in Jamaica. Many of his relatives were in the process of putting up more fliers when they got the good news.
“We all just dropped whatever we were doing — we were out handing out flyers, putting up flyers, looking. We all just dropped all of that and just rushed home to see him,” said Mootoo’s borther Navin Mootoo.
Now that Mootoo has been found his family members say they're not going to let him out of their sight for a while.
“Anywhere he wants to go, we’re going to make certain that he has everything: numbers, address. But yeah, he’s a big boy, he’s a big man,” said Mootoo’s brother Mark Miller. “As long as he’s learned the area, learned the place, I think everything is going to be OK.”
The 32-year-old was recovering from frostbite at Jamaica Hospital Sunday.
"Despite how he looked, being in the cold for the past couple of days and stuff, we were just happy to see him," said his brother Navin, who circulated flyers around the neighborhood as part of the effort to find him. "We're just happy to know that he's alive and that he's going to be all right now."
Mootoo’s family says they are planning a big party for him on Saturday to welcome him to the country.