Deaf, autistic woman missing since Dec. 23 found by sister on NYC train

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NEW YORK (WPIX) — A sister of Samantha Denise Primus – a deaf, autistic woman who disappeared just before Christmas – found Primus on the No. 1 train in Lower Manhattan Saturday afternoon.

“I lost my voice from crying,” said another sister, Genevieve, who confirmed to Nexstar’s WPIX her 46-year-old sibling, known as Denise, had been found by their sister, Ghislaine Primus.

A photo sent by the Primus family showed a much thinner Denise smiling broadly by the train with her sister, Ghislaine. Denise was still wearing the pink knit hat she had on when she left her sister Joanna Peck’s house on Long Island during a bitterly cold, rainy morning on Dec. 23.

“She had no jacket. She was wearing bedroom slippers,” Genevieve said.

Various family members and friends had been riding the No. 1 train from beginning to end in recent days after getting a tip that Denise had been seen near the Staten Island Ferry stop.

Joanna Peck contacted WPIX just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday with the news that Denise had been found, easing the family’s concern the woman was being held against her will. 

Genevieve Primus, who was riding trains in Brooklyn earlier this week looking for Denise, was at work when she received word her sister was safe.

Even though Denise is non-verbal, she does make sounds, and Genevieve said her sister was “screaming with joy.”

“She was so happy,” Genevieve said of her sister’s reaction to seeing a family member. “She’s really, really skinny, so they took her to the hospital.”

The family had been upset to learn that 16 hours after Denise Primus left the house in the Long Island community of Elmont on Dec. 23, she was taken to Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica — only to be released at 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve and given a list of homeless shelters.



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