30 THE QUEENS COURIER • OCTOBER 11, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Photos by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech/THE COURIER
An Elmhurst brother’s desperate search for his autistic twin
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
For fi ve days, David Gonzalez of
Elmhurst doggedly searched across
Queens for his twin brother, Peter, who is
autistic and cannot communicate verbally.
Relief came over David on Oct. 8 when
he got the news that his brother had
been found safe and unharmed, but hospitalized
at Zucker Hillside Hospital in
Glen Oaks. Peter had been found sitting
on a lawn two days aft er going missing;
the homeowner who spotted Peter called
police, which led to his hospitalization.
“I guess all of my eff orts were for nothing,”
said David in recalling the search. Of
course, those eff orts were not in vain.
Th e day that Peter went missing, David
had left his brother’s side in the family’s
Gleane Street apartment for what seemed
like just a moment. He went into he kitchen
to grab Peter some pizza and when he
returned, he had walked out of the door,
down three fl ights of stairs and out of the
building nowhere to be found.
Typically, when a person goes missing,
family members are advised to speak to
the police as quickly as possible and provide
a few recent photos of the missing
person, nicknames or aliases, a physical
description including height, weight, age,
hair color, eye color, list of possessions, list
of identifying marks such as scars or tattoos,
a list of medical conditions, a list of
the places the person frequents and a general
description of the situation surrounding
the disappearance. In addition, loved
one can either reach out to other organizations
to help in the search or wait.
Although David reached out to the
police to report his brother missing, he
was unable to sit at home and remain passive
in his the search for his brother.
“As a person of color, I am used to
self-policing,” Gonzalez said.
David printed out hundreds of fl yers
and posted them around Jackson Heights
and Elmhurst the days following his brother’s
disappearance. He made T-shirts featuring
a photo of Peter and gave them to
friends. He contacted Councilman Daniel
Dromm and Assembly hopeful Catalina
Cruz to see if they could help in the search.
“Tell everyone that you care about that
you love them,” said David as he passed
out fl yers in Jackson Heights the evening
of Oct. 3. “Because just like that they can
Every chance that David got he asked
those who listened to take a photo of his
shirt and post to social media. Most were
happy to oblige.
He wanted to break the internet
with #FindPeterGonzalez, he posted to
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram since
there have been several reported cases of
social media being used to help fi nd missing
“I am just afraid that someone is going
to want to do something to him,” said
Gonzalez, who would even take to making
announcements in stores asking customers
to help fi nd his twin, walking into
alleyways shouting Peter’s name, and running
across Queens at the drop of a hat
when stranger would call with a lead
that led to know where on Peter’s whereabouts.
According to David, the only way that
the hospital was able to fi gure out their
nonverbal patient’s identity was because
a nurse happened to see a NYI segment
about Peter’s disappearance.
When David received a call from police
on Monday morning of Oct. 8 that Peter
had been found, he was fi nally able to tear
himself away from his phone and rush to
“Finally this chapter is over,” he said.