Authorities are expected to file murder charges Monday in the disappearance of a Staten Island father of two, whose eerie last text message to his mother said “Please help me, Mom.”
Michael “Mikey” Stewart, 40, disappeared Dec. 20 after he left an Irish pub in Staten Island. Surveillance footage later captured Stewart in a nearby barbershop talking with customer Angelo Nesimi, who knew Stewart.
Nesimi is expected to be charged with murder, manslaughter, tampering with evidence and concealment of a human corpse after investigators believe Nesimi stabbed Stewart to death then concealed his body, according to The New York Post.
Stewart’s body has never been recovered, however investigators believe it may have been left in a dumpster in New Jersey near Rutgers University. Trash from the dumpster is regularly shipped to a landfill in Pennsylvania, which authorities have been searching for weeks, the paper reports.
Despite the lack of body, a grand jury convened to hear the case and at least one witness provided information about allegedly dumping the body.
Nesimi, 33, was arrested Dec. 31 for assault and criminal possession of a weapon after police responded to a drug-related domestic disturbance call between Nesimi and his girlfriend, Zammara Sanchez.
A police K-9 unit detected traces of blood inside a vehicle during that investigation and Sanchez was reportedly talking about a murder that involved Nesimi, according to an earlier article in The Staten Island Advance.
Nesimi’s attorney Mario Gallucci has denied his client was involved in the disappearance.
“Angelo completely denies the allegations,” Gallucci told The Advance. “At this point, at best, it’s a circumstantial murder case without a body.”
Stewart, a father of two, had been out drinking at pub the evening of Dec. 20 in the hours before his disappearance. Shortly after he left the pub around 6:30 p.m., he was seen in surveillance footage conversing with Nesimi as the suspect is getting his hair cut. The exchange between the pair, who were reportedly friends, appeared to be jovial.
Early the next morning around 1:55 a.m. Stewart sent the ominous text to his mother asking for help. He was never seen again and failed to show up for Christmas events with his children, sparking further concern among his family members.
Over the weekend, Stewart’s family gathered to remember the man who once helped rebuild Ground Zero as a carpenter.
“He made everybody laugh,” his younger brother Richard Stewart said, according to The Staten Island Advance. “He blew off the tough stuff and made it a joke, and I respected him for that. He was my mentor; he was my older brother.”
Life-long friend Jaclyn Tantao said the family is still struggling with what to tell Stewart’s 4-year-old daughter who said she thinks her daddy is playing hide-and-seek with her.
“She asks for him, asks why he’s not around,” Tantao said.
[Photo: New York City Police Department]
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