‘She’s unrecognizable’ – Family grieving after loved one found dead in stairwell

A Bronx family is searching for an explanation about why their loved one was found dead in a stairwell following a doctor’s appointment.  

Marisa Marcellino and Adolfo Carrion

Aug 24, 2023, 2:23 AM

Updated 269 days ago

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A Bronx family is searching for an explanation about why their loved one was found dead in a stairwell following a doctor’s appointment.  
Augustine Vazquez-Rhem says that his wife’s aunt, Sary Mao, 57, was found on Monday after complaints of a bad smell. Police say Mao was found face-down dead in a stairwell of a building at 1 Fordham Plaza where she went to the doctor.  
“Dead and utterly decomposed to a point where she’s unrecognizable,” said Augustine. “The medical report stated she had a heart attack, the issue for me is that if regular patrols would have been done, that they would have found her body sooner.” 
Augustine is now calling for ‘Sary’s Law’ to be enacted. The law would ensure that if doors have security alarms that go off, that they are responded to in a timely and proper manner.  
He says that Mao, who lived at the Beacon of Hope in the Bronx, never received welfare checks, and that the family was not informed she was missing.  
“They stated that the security door on the fifth floor, which is where she exited the emergency door, the alarm was not working or deactivated that particular day,” said Augustine.  
Montefiore Hospital says that due to HIPAA laws and patient privacy, they are unable to provide information about patients before or after their visits.  
Catholic Charities of The Archdiocese of New York issued a statement saying, "We were terribly sorry to hear about the passing of Ms. Mao and extend our condolences to her family and friends. It is not appropriate for us to comment on matters of client care.”


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