NEW YORK – It has been 67 days since 22-year-old John Paul “JP” Fernandez had gone missing. The Fernandez family has searched everywhere – the woods near their home, a nearby lake, hospitals, homeless shelters and even morgues. But JP was nowhere to be found.
“The initial fear that you hope it’s not him,” said Ninia Fernandez, JP’s mother. “Then you draw up the courage to call the department, and then you find out you – give them the description, by the time they get, they tell you it’s not him, you’re already having anxiety attack.”
The missing Fil-Am student was last seen at Route 365 Gramercy Lakeside Manor on Dec. 13 last year.
He was wearing a gray leather hoodie and black shoes.
After more than 30 searches, the Fernandez family says the police have placed JP’s case on a “reactive” status.
“They will only start looking for him when they get a tip,” said Ninia. “Middletown police did everything to search for him last week, second week, but now they have no lead.”
A day after he was last seen, they found a cellphone on the side of the road near his running trail. A message on the phone led them to his room where they found a six-page suicide note.
“He didn’t like himself, he didn’t think he did enough,” said JP’s sister Honey. “He said he’s having violent thoughts. He didn’t like how the world was that the bad people were the ones who got ahead in life.”
The family says JP, an accounting student at Seton Hall University, was bullied in high school and college.
“Other people’s hobby is making you feel small,” said Ninia. “Although he is very smart, he still thinks he is inadequate because no one is accepting him, he doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
Without finding his body, the Fernandez family is hoping JP is still out there somewhere, and they can’t wait to see him come home.
“We won’t stop searching because we love him so much,” said his mother. “I mean at least a text, a sign to say you’re alive and you’re okay and if you’re not ready to go home, just let us know you’re okay. You cannot forget us. Go home, darling.”
For information that would lead to JP Fernandez’s whereabouts, please call Detective Kelly Godley at the Middletown Police Department at (732) 615-2120.