Relatives of a missing West New York man are still looking for him four years after his disappearance.
Felix Francisco Grullon, a native of the Dominican Republic, was discovered missing when his mother visited his apartment the morning of April 12, 2004 and found his front door ajar but no one home. According to his sister, Elena Grullon, Felix Grullon had no plans to leave; he was supposed to appear in court that day to resolve a child support issue.
Felix’s father informed the West New York Police Department that he was missing.
Police reports say he was last seen at 5 a.m. on April 13 near the corner of 60th Street and Hudson Avenue.
Recently, Elena Grullon has taken on the investigation by taping new homemade missing posters bearing his photo on utility poles in the area.
“I feel like nothing gets done,” she said. “I think by now we should find some kind of information.”
She also said that the family members have no idea where he could be, but they are worried that something terrible happened to him.
“He didn’t take his keys, clothes, even his toothbrush,” Elena Grullon said. “Everything was there.” She also said that his passport was left behind and that the police found no sign that he had left the country.
She also said that Grullon was trying to stop drinking. She said he was fired from his job at the West New York Department of Public Works a few weeks before he disappeared.
“At that time, he was hallucinating because he had stopped drinking,” she said.
She said that her brother had had his phone disconnected because he could not pay the bill, and he planned to visit the unemployment office the same day he was supposed to appear in court.
She also said that Grullon had gotten a haircut the day before he disappeared. Police said Grullon’s barber told them that he talked about going to Newark to handle a family matter.
“All we can do is follow the leads,” said West New York Police Director Oscar Fernandez last week.
Fernandez said that in 2004, Grullon’s family members said they received a phone call from someone they did not know saying that Grullon was in the hospital. Police followed up with the hospitals in the area, but did not find Grullon.
Police also searched for the now-56-year-old man in vain at nearby rehabilitation centers, after Grullon’s brother said Grullon had spent some time at one.
“We check every lead until the leads go cold,” said Fernandez. “We came up with a dead end.”
Information on a state police website says that Grullon was born in May of 1952. He is 5’5″, with gray hair, brown eyes, and wears reading glasses. He also was wearing a watch with a silver band and face when he disappeared, and he goes by the nickname “Nino.”
To see the state police information, click on http://www.njvu.org/cgi-bin/njsp/mpdisplay.cgi?mpid=370.
The laws In cases in which a person has been missing for 30 days or more, the investigation continues on local and state levels.
As a result of Patricia’s Law, signed in January 2008 and effective last month, local and state police now work together to collect reference DNA samples from close family members.
“It is a DNA initiative that we have underway,” said New Jersey State Police Detective David Jones last week. “Basically, what it is, is collecting family reference samples for long-term missing persons.”
Police may also choose to obtain DNA samples from items that belonged to the missing person such as a toothbrush, hairbrush or clothing.
The samples are sent to the National Missing Persons Program, based in Texas, where they are entered into CODIS, the FBI’s computerized Combined DNA Index System. Then they are compared with samples from unidentified bodies that are found.
“Those DNA profiles are put into CODIS and compared against unidentified deceased profiles from around the country,” said Jones.
A match may solve a case. Fernandez said his department is currently working on getting this done for all the long-term missing cases in their system.
Local police will also continue to use some of the older methods for investigating.
“Every year, we send a letter to the family to see if they have heard from [the missing person],” said Fernandez.
He said that none of Grullon’s family members have heard from him.
“We depend on the family, especially with the young ones,” said Fernandez.
He also said that when detectives begin to investigate a missing person case, they will ask the family for details about the missing person’s life, including habits, hobbies, and acquaintances.
Fernandez also said that for emergency purposes, it is a good idea for family members to keep each other informed of their whereabouts at all times.
Anyone with information should call the West New York Police Department at (201) 295-5000 or the state police Missing Persons Unit at (800) 709-7090.