“She felt abandoned”: a friend of a Colombian mother who took her own life while waiting for asylum in a New York shelter

“She felt abandoned”: a friend of a Colombian mother who took her own life while waiting for asylum in a New York shelter

“I felt like I was alone,” a friend said of the Colombian asylum-seeking mother who took her own life at a shelter in Queens (NYC).

“There are people who have depression,” the unnamed friend added, speaking to the New York Post Tuesday outside the Hollis Family Shelter. There the 32-year-old woman, a mother of two children, hanged herself on a shower rod with an electrical cable. “She felt like she was alone,” she added.

Although the authorities have not revealed her name, the Daily Mail identified her as Leydy Paola Martínez Billalobos, adding that she was working on cleaning tasks. The tragedy was revealed on Monday by Mayor Eric Adams, who did not give details about the case.

A high-ranking law enforcement source told NBC News that the woman and her two children – a 15-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl – had arrived in New York from Colombia last May.

The friend claimed that he knew the woman from her native country. Next to her in the talk was the eldest son of the victim. “I have been here for five months,” said the affected teenager. “The truth is I don’t want to talk.”

“You always saw her alone with hers and her two children, in the park or sitting here, sitting with hers and her two children,” another friend told NBC News, but she added that she never noticed her sad. The husband was separated from the rest of the family at the border and was unable to enter the US after several attempts to join them in NYC, the station reported.

Mayor Adams said Tuesday that the city had launched an investigation into the immigrant’s death, as is the case with all deaths at city hall. And he assured that her two children “are in the hands of the proper care they need.”

“This tragedy is a reminder that we have an obligation to do everything in our power to help those in need,” the mayor said in a statement earlier Monday.

In recent months, New York City has seen an avalanche of migrants sent by bus from the border state of Texas, most of them Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis in their country.

It is estimated that at least 13,000 asylum seekers have recently arrived in NYC amid a political battle between Democrats and Republicans, and Mayor Adams has asked the federal government for funds to deal with the crisis. The figure translates to about $1.6 million a day spent by the city government, according to Bloomberg News.

Those who arrive do not have a work permit, something that Mayor Adams has added to his federal requirements, to avoid the risk of homelessness, depression and crime.

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Ben Oakley
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