A baffling disappearance of 24-year-old Mayushi Bhagat from Jersey City
Over two months missing and still no clue about her fate
SPECIAL REPORT BY Hi India Staff
Over two months after 24-year-old Jersey City resident Mayushi Bhagat went missing, her disappearance continues to mystify the police and deeply distress her family.
“There is absolutely no clue as to what happened to Mayushi. My daughter has always kept in touch with us but now it is more than two months that we have had any contact,” her distraught father Vikas Bhagat told Hi India in a telephone conversation.
With the case making no headway after weeks, Vikas Bhagat says although he is prepared for the worst, he feels that the absence of any developments also gives him hope that “she is still alive.”
Given the passage of time speculation whether she was kidnapped and/or murdered has begun but as her father put it with even if her life came to a tragic end, there would be some indication.
The police complaint made by Bhagat at East District, 207, 7th Street, Jersey City is quite bare bones. It is recorded as a “walk in for a missing person” and says, “Upon arrival we spoke with the complainant Vikasbhai M. Bhagat (DOB or date of birth 09/10/1971) who stated that he last spoke with his daughter Mayushi Bhagat (DOB: 07/12/1994) through the text messaging app called WhatsApp on 5/1/2019 at 00300 hours and that she stated she was ok and was not returning home till Friday on 5/3/2019 and does not want to be bothered. Ms Bhagat is described as a 5’10 female with a thin build, has brown eyes and black hair. Ms. Bhagat does not have any mental illnesses and is not on any type of medication. Ms Bhagat is currently attending New York Institue of Technology on Wednesdays and Fridays.”
The complaint said the police did call Mayushi’s mobile number and left a voicemail asking her to contact the East District police. Nothing has been heard from her, according to her father, either by the police or him since the day she went missing.
Referring to his Whats App contact, Vikas Bhagat said he does not believe it was her who responded because “the language does not read like hers.” He suspects the response may have been sent by someone who had her cell phone.
“I just do not understand why she would not contact us at all after so many weeks. She was very happy with her life. She had secured an excellent job in California with a company that had agreed to file her H1B visa,” he said.
Mayushi came to America in 2016 on the F1 student visa to pursue a post-graduate degree in electronics engineering. “She is a bright student who always scored well,” Vikas Bhagat said. With a job secured in the tech sector in California her future seemed promising.
The circumstances surrounding her disappearance are baffling. Mayushi along with her parents Vikas and Depti as well as a friend named Rashid Mehmood had signed a joint lease for an apartment at 35 Wroom Street in Jersey City on July 1 last year. The monthly rent, according to the lease document obtained by Hi India, was $1675. The fact that Mayushi and Rashid signed it together with her parenbts meant that the two had cordial relations. “Mayushi and Rashid were friends,” Vikas Bhagat said.
It is not clear whether the police are treating anyone as a person of interest. When Vikas Bhagat last spoke to Mehmood about Mayushi he had said he did not know about where she might be because she left on the night of her disappearance.
Bhagat told Hi India that the case was being handled by the Missing Persons’ Unit. For some reason though, Mayushi’s name does not figure on the New Jersey State Police missing persons’ list.
Bhagat said he was not happy with the police response so far even though the police had been reaching out various community sources for Mayushi’s whereabouts. He wondered whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could be more helpful in the matter.
Asked how his family was coping with it all, he said hope was their only option until they hear of any specific news.
It has been particularly hard to obtain any substantive information about the case from either the Jersey police or the Missing Persons’ Unit.
After considerable effort Hi India was able to get a short response from Kim Wallace-Scalcione, Communications Director and Press Secretary in the Office of the Mayor of Jersey City. An email response from her to a list of questions from Hi India said, “We are utilizing all of our best available resources to locate a missing woman from Jersey City. This is an ongoing investigation, and our detectives are working closely with several agencies and are in constant contact with the family. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Jersey City Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit at 201-547-5427.