An 81-year-old man who doesn’t know who he is has gone missing from Long Island College Hospital (LICH), which is facing a controversial potential closure by its owners at the State University of New York.
Celso Heredia disappeared late Thursday, July 18 or early Friday, July 19, said police, who did not receive a missing persons report from the hospital until Wednesday, July 24. He is described as being in good physical condition but may require further medical assistance.
Reports differ as to whether Heredia was formally discharged or exited the hospital without the knowledge of staff. According to the New York Times, a LICH staff member said there was paperwork showing he was discharged at 12:45 a.m. on July 19 — the day his bus was to leave — but PIX11 News reports that no discharge papers were issued since staff disagreed over whether Heredia was mentally competent to leave on his own.
However, the NYPD reports he was not discharged.
The NYPD is now searching for him in New York City and along the highway towards Florida, which is where his last known address was and where LICH administrations purchased a one-way bus ticket to in Heredia’s name, against some of his doctor’s recommendations.
Heredia is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7″ in height, brown eyes, gray hair. Mr. Heredia was last seen wearing a blue and white striped shirt with blue denim jeans and black sneakers.
He was admitted to the hospital as a patient on June 15, after police found him wandering along the side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, carrying cash, a bus ticket, a baseball cap, and identifying papers.
Heredia’s personal effects, including $300 in cash, were left behind at LICH.
PIX11 reports that the state Attorney General’s office may now investigate LICH for Medicaid fraud, but that has not been confirmed.