Mystery surrounds September disappearance of Whitestone woman

By Madina Toure

A private investigator and the family of a Whitestone woman who mysteriously disappeared five months ago still have no clues as to what happened to her as the second month of the new year kicks off.

Maria Brabazon, 55, was last seen Sept. 5 at 2:54 p.m. when she appeared on a neighbor’s home surveillance camera walking on 14th Avenue toward the intersection with 152nd Street in Whitestone.

The 109th Precinct Detective Squad and the NYPD’s Missing Persons Unit launched a search for Brabazon in collaboration with Beau Dietl & Associates, a private investigators firm in Manhattan.

Mark Pucci, executive vice president of Beau Dietl, the lead investigator, said the case is stagnant and that they have no possible theory at the moment.

He said the firm performed standard investigative protocol, which includes looking at the initial response from the Police Department, interviewing family members and neighbors, looking for any video cameras in the area and canvassing stores in the Whitestone Shopping Center, but to no avail.

“There’s literally no viable information that would cause me to come to any conclusion as to her fate or her whereabouts,” Pucci said. “It’s actually baffling that somebody could completely vanish to that extent with no viable trail.”

An NYPD spokesman also confirmed that there have been no developments in the case.

Peter Brabazon, Maria’s husband, said she was seen leaving the house on foot and turning the corner, but it is unclear whether she jumped into a car, was picked up by another individual in a car or if she kept walking.

The family is still distraught and upset, he said, with the only development being that she was added to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a missing persons database.

The family has also set up a website, www.mariabrabazon.com, with her photo, a description and contact information for Beau Dietl and the Mission Persons Hotline.

“I’m hoping somebody sends in a tip to the hotline or calls me or Maria sends a letter to us,” Brabazon said. “We have no idea what happened. All we have right now, the only power we have right now is prayer, prayer for her safety.”

In early November, Pucci said the firm used three separate dog teams as part of the search. The firm had put out National Crime Information Center alerts and received help from police in the Nassau County and Massapequa-Amityville area, but did not find any clues.

Beau Dietl found that the morning that Brabazon disappeared, Maria received a parking summons on 202nd Street in the area of 19th and 21st avenues for an expired inspection. She then visited a gas station on Utopia Parkway to have her vehicle inspected, went to a BJ’s Warehouse in Whitestone and checked out at around 11:17 a.m.

Beau Dietl also conducted a search of the public and park areas in the Throgs Neck Bridge’s vicinity, including Little Bay Park, Clear Bay Park Golf Course and open areas next to Fort Totten.

“It’s somewhat kind of wooded and not occupied and then most of the buildings in there are occupied by New York City Fire Department, some NYPD units have an office there,” Pucci added. “It’s fairly populated there, someone would have noticed if she was anywhere over there.”

They were alerted to a woman who resembled Maria at a store in the Amityville-Massapequa area, where she often shopped at thrift stores and antique shops, but it turned out to be a Polish woman.

Police described Brabazon as 5-foot-5 inches, weighing 125 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing black leggings and a white shirt.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) held a news conference in October about Brabazon’s disappearance and said in early November that he would follow up on the case. A spokesman for Avella said they have not received any updates.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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