A search for a person of interest continued on Tuesday after a 5-year-old girl was found alone in New York with her mother dead in Connecticut.
The girl told police she was told by her father, 32-year-old Elmer Gomez Ruono, to wait inside a Port Authority bus terminal in New York City Monday during the morning rush.
However, Ruono never returned. The girl said she lived in Stamford where police found her mother's body.
"Hopefully, the little girl didn't witness anything or she will have trauma," neighbor Pete DeSantis said.
Police said he was last seen entering the terminal around 10 a.m. on Monday. The girl was with him when they got off a bus.
Authorities were notified after they commuters noticed that the girl, who was not hurt, had been there for quite some time.
"Just imagine, her world has been turned upside down," Stamford Police Captain Richard Conkllin said.
The couple, who was originally from Guatemala, were separated and recently reunited. Police said the girl and her mother had been living in New Jersey and moved to Stamford on Sunday. One day later, the mom was dead and the father was missing.
"I don't want to comment too much, but there were obvious signs of a struggle in that bedroom," Conkllin said.
Police said at the moment, Ruono is only a person of interest in the girl's mother death. Ruono, who worked as a dishwasher at the Bedford Street Diner for the last six months, was described as standing 5'8" tall, weighing 140 pounds and having long black hair with a medium complexion.
The manager at the Bedford Street Diner said she's shocked. She added Ruono was a good employee, a hard worker, who never missed a shift.
Police want to interview the little girl, but because of her age, they first need permission from her parents.
"What we're petitioning the state of Connecticut is to make her a ward of the state, the state is her guardian and the state can deem permission to do a forensic interview with this child," Conkllin said. "Right now the child is still in the custody of Youth Services in New York."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stamford Police Department at 203-977-4444.
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