Elderly Union woman found safe after frantic search

Friends and co-workers quickly produced and distributed flyers when 74-year-old Union resident Mary Ann Clark failed to arrive for work in New York on Jan. 12.

UNION, NJ — A 74-year-old township woman was found safe, though ill, in a New York hospital Monday, Jan. 15, three days after co-workers began frantically searching for her after she failed to arrive at her office Friday, Jan. 12, authorities said.

Mary Ann Clark was on her way to work in New York City when she fell ill on the subway, Union Township Det. Sgt. Victor Correia said.
Her co-workers reported her missing to local police when she did not arrive at work. A missing persons flier posted for Clark said she was last seen leaving work at 5:10 p.m. on Jan. 11.

Clark was transported to a nearby hospital and then transferred to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Brooklyn, police said. Someone who helped Clark on the subway called township police and told them she had suffered a heart attack after recognizing her photo from a flier, Correia said.
One of Clark’s co-workers, who helped in the search but did not want her name used, said the 74-year-old woman’s belongings were located days after she went to the hospital. Authorities told LocalSource that Clark had a tube down her throat which made her unable to speak.
“She has no family here in New Jersey,” Correia said in a phone interview. “Her closest relative is in Florida.”

A Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital spokeswoman told LocalSource on Jan. 17 that Clark was in stable condition.
There was an outpouring of support for Clark from her co-workers, who posted missing persons announcements on social media and sent information about her to multiple news outlets.

One said they had checked hospitals in New Jersey, but their search was made more difficult because she could have been in New York as well.
“The co-worker was probably the leading person on this because she obviously cared about her so much,” Correia said.

Correia said that when a person is reported missing, authorities first send out a notification to local police departments. He said the fliers made for Clark were helpful in this case.

A spokeswoman for Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital declined to comment when asked about policies in place to identify people who can’t speak, don’t possess a cell phone or don’t have any identification on them.

Correia, meanwhile, suggested that seniors concerned that they could fall ill while outside should to wear an identification bracelet that shows an emergency contact phone number.

“My biggest takeaway with this is to write down your emergency contact on a piece of paper,” one of Clark’s coworkers said.
“Because even if you have a phone it doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to get into it.”