Worker from Crittenton disappears after errand

January 09, 1994|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Staff Writer Staff writer Jackie Powder contributed to this article.

City police are looking for a missing child-care worker who failed to return to work at the Florence Crittenton Services Friday evening after taking a resident of the home to Penn Station.

The executive director of Crittenton, a Hampden home for sexually and physically abused girls in foster care, said she was baffled by the disappearance of Bernadette A. McDonald, 36.

"Bernadette is a very mature, straight-thinking and stable person, so this is very out of character for her," said Anne S. Davis, the executive director.

Police spokesman Sam Ringgold said the homicide unit is involved in the search for Ms. McDonald, but that the investigation is being handled by the missing persons unit.

"As of now, we don't have enough information to turn the case over to homicide," he said.

Ms. McDonald, of the 4000 block of Penhurst Ave., was last seen at 5 p.m. Friday when she dropped off a center resident for a weekend trip to Washington. She was driving a white 1991 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon, registered to the Crittenton home, with Maryland license plates ZAN 083. The car was also missing last night.

She is described as a 36-year-old black female with a medium complexion, 5 feet tall and about 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white waist-length jacket, a red sweater, blue pants and black shoes. Police said she was last seen Friday about 6 p.m., walking toward the Chevrolet, which was parked near Penn Station.

Ms. Davis described Ms. McDonald as an excellent worker who is well-liked by the staff and residents. She had worked at Crittenton for five months, said Ms. Davis.

"She always has a smile for everyone," said Ms. Davis.

James Smith, Ms. McDonald's boyfriend, said staff members at Crittenton "love her to death."

"They wanted to promote her, and she's not even through her probation yet," he said.

Ms. McDonald "was in her usual good spirits" when she arrived for her 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift Friday, Ms. Davis said. She left shortly after arriving to take the resident to Penn Station.

Ms. Davis said Ms. McDonald called the center shortly after 5 p.m. to say the train was late and she would be delayed.

Mr. Ringgold said investigators contacted the girl in Washington, who told them everything appeared normal when she left Ms. McDonald and got on the train.

A co-worker called police later Friday evening to report Ms. McDonald missing.

"Everyone here is very concerned about Bernadette's disappearance," said Ms. Davis. "I haven't slept, worrying about what might have happened to her."

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