As of press time Friday, police still had not found Jersey City mom Randy “Amanda” Lehrer, 32, who has been missing since Tuesday, Aug. 16.
This past Wednesday night, concerned volunteers posted over 600 flyers throughout Jersey City Heights, hoping someone would provide information to solve the mystery of her sudden disappearance.
Lehrer, the mother of a 10-month old girl, was reported missing by her husband, Steven Acuna, on Wednesday, Aug. 17. He told police that she left following an argument, according to Detective Cesar Camacho.
Co-workers at Tommy’s Restaurant on Central Avenue had told the press that she hadn’t ever missed work except when she gave birth to her daughter. But she did not show up for work on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
‘Call the Jersey City tip line at 201-547-JAIL with any information that could help bring Amanda home.’ – Councilman William Gaughan
Detective Camacho said the N.J. State Police missing persons unit joined the search the day after Amanda was reported missing.
Police say Acuna, the husband, has not been cooperating, complicating the search effort. According to police, when Acuna refused to speak to police without a lawyer, a background check revealed an outstanding arrest warrant from Union City. He was arrested and posted bail, police said.
The 10-month-old child is being cared for by her father, police said.
Friends and co-workers of the missing woman rallied on the steps of the Jersey City Police Department North District on Central Avenue on Wednesday, then took to the streets to inform the community.
The detective assigned to the case is Detective Rhudell Snelling, who can be reached at (201) 547-5427.
Camacho said police have tried to communicate with Lehrer’s family to get a DNA sample for the missing woman.
Lehrer’s sister and mother from Canada have come to Jersey City to help search, a co-worker told the Reporter last week.
Community members organize
April Kuzas, a local resident and mother of an infant, organized the flyer posting and outreach rally. She said has known Amanda for years as a patron at Tommy’s Restaurant, and they became friendly when they both were pregnant at the same time.
Kuzas credited her maternal instincts as the motivation for organizing the Wednesday gathering. Camacho said April contacted police a few days ago. She told him she expected five people to show up, but more than 60 people appeared, ready to canvass the area bordered by Palisade, Summit, and Central avenues and Kennedy Boulevard.
Most of those at the gathering knew Lehrer from Tommy’s Restaurant.
Know her from restaurant
Ward D Councilman William Gaughan said he has known Lehrer as a “great person” and waitress at the restaurant he frequented with his son. He urged people to inform the community and to call the Jersey City tip line at 201-547-JAIL if they have any information.
A group of 15 church members from Hope Center Tabernacle of Jersey City came out to help post flyers. According to church member Veronica Teklai, the pastors of the church know Lehrer from the restaurant, which is across the street from the church. Teklai said the group felt a need to help.
Rebecca Hernandez said she has known Lehrer for a few years and was saddened by the news of her disappearance. She said she plans to tell detectives what she knows about the relationship between Amanda and her husband.
Ramy Eiv, a District 1 Democratic Committee member in Jersey City and former attorney for Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s administration, said Kuzas approached the committee, worried about rising crime rates in the city. She said she wanted their help to get the word out about the search for Lehrer.
Eiv said the committee has been working on creating more of a community presence to combat crime. He said he considered the rally on Wednesday a kickoff that will hopefully bring more community involvement in the fight against crime.
A private investigator, Charles Hannon, has offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to the return of Lehrer.