For years, all Enrique Vega’s family has wanted are answers.
Where is their brother? Husband? Father? Why has he missed so many holidays and the birth of his grandson?
Vega, who lived in Hamilton Beach with his wife, Maribel, and four daughters, disappeared in 2004 after leaving to do what should have been a routine business transaction.
Instead, Vega, then 39, was never seen after his business partner dropped him off at the corner of 180th Street and Liberty Avenue on Oct. 6.
An auto mechanic, Vega was expected to pick up a vehicle at that spot to bring back to the shop he co-owned, Eastern Collision in Brooklyn. But according to Vega’s sister, he never picked it up, though his partner had told the family he did.
Since then, family members said they’ve been living a never-ending nightmare, traveling from hospitals to morgues and psychiatric wards to look for him. Every day, his siblings check the Internet for anything that could lead her to her brother.
“He’s missed so much of his children’s lives,” said his sister, Carmela Osorio, who lived in Howard Beach at the time of Vega’s disappearance and now resides in Florida. “He’s already a grandfather, and the baby looks just like him.”
Osorio said she has been especially frustrated with the police’s lack of involvement in the case. She said the NYPD would not issue a missing person report because Vega had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from 1988, though Osorio said she does not know why the warrant was issued.
After pleading with the police so often to help her, Osorio said she “finally got a call back from a sergeant from a missing persons unit, and he was able to help me a little.”
That sergeant, Osorio said, was able to search through a police database about a year and a half ago to see if there are any records of Vega’s death, but he came up empty-handed.
Vega grew up in South Queens and lived in Ozone Park for years before moving to Brooklyn for a stint and eventually landed in Hamilton Beach with his wife and children. Vega has six children in total.
“He was just about to buy a house with his wife,” Osorio said. “They were renovating it and everything.”
A “joker” who easily made friends and especially loved Elvis —he even named one of his daughters Lisa Marie — Vega was “a good guy who would help you, no matter if you were homeless or not,” Osorio continued.
And while it’s been years since his children have seen him, his sister said they routinely think of him.
“His kids are always putting, ‘Dad, I miss you, and I love you,’ on their Facebook pages,” she said.
“His family, all they want is some kind of closure,” Osorio continued. “We wish he could come home. If he’s out there and sees this, I hope he understands we don’t care what happened. We just want him to come home.”
Anyone with information can call (646) 539-0752.