Flushing tailor shop owner found deceased after four-month disappearance

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The search for Flushing business owner Xiuping Shen has concluded after she was found to have died at an area nursing home in late January.
Courtesy of Kim’s office

The mystery surrounding a Flushing small business owner, who was reported missing in November, has been solved, but the culmination of the search for her was not the ending anyone wanted.

Assemblymember Ron Kim updated the community on the search for 68-year-old Xiuping Shen, who owned a small tailor shop in a downtown Flushing shopping center and vanished nearly four months ago.

Her family back in Tianjin, China initially reached out to Harriet Lo, President of the Tianjin Commerce Associates USA to help find her, and the business leader discovered that on Jan. 16, Shen had entered New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital with a medical issue.

Though she was not able to see her, Lo confirmed that she was okay with her doctor. However, Lo received a follow-up call from Shen’s family several weeks later, who had not heard from her or anyone else since that night in mid-January.

As is its policy, the hospital refused to release any information to anyone not listed as Shen’s emergency contact, which only listed her ex-husband who could not be reached.

Lo began to search for her again and surmised that she may have been discharged to a local nursing home. Lo and Shen’s friends began a search of every nursing home and rehabilitation facility that they could find in Flushing, but they were unsuccessful.

Lo contacted Kim and his staff and they reached out to the administration at the hospital, and eventually learned the name of the nursing home she had been sent to. It was one that Lo had previously visited in her search but without success. The facility confirmed that Shen had been a patient there but refused to give her any additional information.

Kim’s office contacted the nursing home directly and learned that Shen died at the facility on Jan. 29, and her remains were sent to the city morgue.

“I want to first express my condolences to Xiuping Shen’s family,” Kim said. “We tried our best these last few weeks to find her, and this was not the outcome we had hoped for.”

Assemblymember Ron Kim, alongside Tianjin Commerce Associates USA president Harriet Lo, updates the community on the search for Xiuping Shen.Courtesy of Kims’s office

Kim’s staff followed up with the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and confirmed that her remains were currently with the city. Now her family is seeking to bring her remains back to her hometown in Tianjin, so they can give her a proper funeral and ceremony. Kim said his team would continue to assist her family and wrote a letter to the U.S. Consulate in Beijing to help ensure Shen’s niece can visit the United States on a temporary visa to settle her aunt’s affairs.

“Ms. Shen was a pillar of the community — a small business owner who ran her own tailoring shop in downtown Flushing,” Kim said. “Many of her customers are still not aware of what happened to her, and have been visiting her store to inquire about their clothes.”

Shen’s cause of death was kidney failure.

“She was [a] beloved member of the Flushing community, and I pledge that my office will continue to do its best to help her family as they retrieve her remains and settle her affairs,” Kim said. “May her memory be a blessing to all of us.”