The scene is unsettlingly familiar: the Hell’s Kitchen community, faced with another missing person case, plans to gather outside Port Authority as yet another young man, this time, law student Jordan Taylor, remains missing after being spotted in Midtown, his phone found near LGBTQ+ nightclub The Q.
Concerned residents, community leaders and Taylor’s friends and family will meet up at 3pm on Sunday January 29 outside Port Authority near where Taylor was last spotted and his phone was found in Hell’s Kitchen one day after he went missing on January 6. The 29-year old CUNY law student was last seen getting a haircut in Queens and briefly spotted near Port Authority Bus Terminal before disappearing, his wallet later located on West Street near the Goldman Sachs Building in Battery Park City and his phone was found miles away in Hell’s Kitchen. He was reported missing by his family to police on January 8, according to his brother.
Taylor’s brother Alton told NBC News that based on the phone’s location, he believed his sibling had spent time at the Hell’s Kitchen club, adding that he was “checking the phone history with the movement. I’m sure that he was there that night between Friday and Saturday in the morning,” said Alton. Police were looking into how Taylor’s belongings ended up in two different neighborhoods, telling W42ST that the case was still under investigation.
Background — Deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger
The circumstances of the case bear an uncomfortable resemblance to those of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger, two men who went missing after being out in Hell’s Kitchen, only later to be found dead with their bank accounts drained. The deaths, which occurred months apart and both remain unsolved, have sparked fear over a potential New York-based robbery ring in which victims are drugged and left for dead if anything goes awry. In late December Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr announced the indictment of one suspect accused of drugging and robbing two Lower East Side club goers. However, it was not immediately clear if the accused party was considered connected to Ramirez or Umberger’s cases.
John Umberger’s mother, Linda Clary, told us in response to this story: “I am very concerned about Jordan Taylor and sending thoughts and prayers and perseverance to his family and friends. Those arrested earlier unfortunately had nothing to do with John’s and Julio’s deaths. Those responsible for their deaths and grand larceny are still at large. It is clear there are several rings operating in the area doing the same thing not just one. I had hoped things would stop, going into the holidays, due to increased awareness.”
As for Jordan Taylor, brother Alton told NBC News that he didn’t “want to rule out a heinous foul play. Like, I don’t want to think about it, but I can’t rule it out either,” he added. Friends of the passionate political activist, who worked on the campaigns of Lt. Gov. Anthony Delgado and Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, have continued to post flyers of Taylor in hopes of raising visibility for the case.
“I’m trying to keep, I’m keeping high spirits,” Alton told NBC. They hope we’re going to find him going to be safe and sound. And then, you know, we’ll figure out a way to get back to a sense of normalcy from this.”