A Long Island grandmother says she is facing roadblocks from police in New York as she and her family desperately search for her missing daughter, who vanished from Brooklyn in October and has not been heard from since.
Lynette Hernandez was last seen by her mother, Lourdes Pinzón, on Sept. 19. The 27-year-old had been living part time with Pinzón, along with her 6-year-old daughter, Isabella, in Elmont, New York. Pinzon told Oxygen.com over the phone on Tuesday that her daughter had been staying at the home of her ex-partner and his parents in Wyandanch, New York, between May and August. Both of his parents had recently died of complications from COVID-19, Pinzón said.
Hernandez had also planned to move in with her new boyfriend, Ruslan Kiselev, in Brooklyn before she vanished. The two had been dating casually since meeting in October 2018 at a rehabilitation and nursing center in Flushing, where she worked reception and he as a handyman.
Pinzón says that even though her daughter’s behavior was growing erratic in recent years, she's stunned that she would drop contact with her own little girl.
“What upsets me a lot is that she would call her daughter,” Pinzón told Oxygen.com. ”Isabella hasn’t received a call from her mom since September. She would call and say, ‘I will come to see you,’ take her for pizza. She’d do that. For her to disappear and not have no communication — that’s what's concerning me most.”
As weeks of silence went on after she'd last seen her daughter at their home, Pinzón says she decided to reach out to Kiselev, who texted her to say that the last time he’d seen Hernandez was on Oct. 4 in Brooklyn. By Oct. 19, after having filled a missing person report in Nassau County, Pinzón said she was told by police to speak with the New York Police Department. So she and her son headed to the 60th precinct near Coney Island.
Nassau police told her to have Kiselev accompany her to the NYPD precinct that night, as the 25-year-old was the last person known to have seen her in early October, at a Brighton Beach subway station. Kiselev said he would be there, she said, but he never turned up. Speaking with Oxygen.com by phone on Monday, Kiselev explained that he’d said that he was willing to speak to the police if they requested it.
“I’m not her husband, I’m not her family member,” Kiselev said. “I’m just a person with a romantic relationship. I was close by. If the police are going to ask for me, I will show up. They never called me.”
Pinzón then decided, given Kiselev’s absence, that she would explain the circumstances of her daughter’s disappearance to the NYPD herself.
“They laughed at me,” she told Oxygen.com. “'She’s 27? She’s not missing, she should know what she’s doing.' I said, ‘Excuse me?’ They told me to make missing person posters.”
Pinzón, who moved to New York from Peru in 1983, did just that and she and her family began posting the signs around South Brooklyn and in Flushing, where Hernandez had worked at the Pavilion at Queens for Rehabilitation & Nursing — until she was fired in February. Pinzón said that around May 2019 her daughter became depressed and her work attendance started to become sporadic.
It was around then that Pinzón noticed the telltale signs that her daughter had likely begun taking drugs. And when she spoke with police in Brooklyn in October, they said that they did have one record of her daughter — she had called 911 about an overdose in September.
“She did have a drug problem,” Pinzón said. “After she broke up with the father of her daughter. That was one of the reasons that she left home. … It was noticeable. Her way of doing things, the way that she would talk to me, the long sleeps. Not going to work, going late to work.”
This was confirmed by Kiselev, who said he saw Hernandez take “weed and other stuff.” He added that he wanted to stop her and that he “never saw her to the point where she acted differently.”
Since the disappearance, Pinzón says that she has been in some contact with her daughter's ex-partner of nearly 10 years and the father of Isabella, Carlos Ramirez, who she says has remarried and lives on Long Island with his wife and her child. There was tension about the custody of Isabella, she says. For now, the young girl has remained with her in the family home.
Ramirez has called her with reports that her daughter was spotted, Pinzón said, but the leads don’t ever pan out. Kiselev said that he has also been in touch with Ramirez, who told him Hernandez was seen in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood soliciting prostitution.
“I didn’t want to believe it,” Kiselev said. “He told me one of his friends saw her catching cars. ... You don’t want to see anyone’s family in the street, doing prostitution.”
A call to Ramirez placed by Oxygen.com on Tuesday afternoon was not returned.
As the holidays arrive, Pinzón and her husband, son, and nieces continue to fan out over Queens and Brooklyn, asking people if they have seen Hernandez. So far, there has been no luck. Pinzón now feels on her own in the hunt for what happened to her daughter, she says. Nassau police do have a missing person alert out on Hernandez, but as NBC News’s “Dateline” reported, as the case is considered out of their jurisdiction, there’s little else they are able to do.
“With no help from the authorities, I have no voice,” Pinzón said. “I told them — she has family, God forbid she’s dead. If you find her dead or alive. Just give me a call. Nothing.”
Lynette Hernandez is 5’3'' and weighs approximately 170 pounds. She has brown hair and eyes. She has three tattoos: one on her upper back, which is an infinity symbol with “twenty four” written across it; another of an anchor, with a heart, on her torso; and a lotus on her left wrist. She has several piercings, including her ears, nose, and tongue.
Any information about her whereabouts can be directed to the Nassau County Police Department (516) 282-4393. A cash reward is being offered for information about Hernandez.
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