On February 2, 2022, the Paterson Police Department received a phone call about a disturbance at a local bodega on Union Avenue. Officers responded and detained 41-year-old Felix "Joey" DeJesus. Felix, who lives in Haledon, was intoxicated, and the officers dropped him off near Westside Park in Paterson, New Jersey. Felix has not been seen or heard from since.
His family reported him missing to the Haledon Police Department. While they were out posting flyers and searching for Felix, the owner of the bodega told them about the incident. Eventually, Paterson Police Department Internal Affairs investigators confirmed that Felix was driven from the bodega in a police vehicle and dropped off near the corner of Preakness Avenue and Front Street in Paterson, reports NorthJersey.com. According to an announcement made by the Haledon Police Department, at least five people witnessed Felix in the area after the officers dropped him off. The Paterson Police Department has launched an investigation of the two unnamed officers who dropped Felix off.
The family of Felix DeJesus has been outspoken about his disappearance. They have posted flyers, posted on social media, conducted searches, contacted the media, and attended Paterson City Council meetings. They have expressed their frustration over the lack of information and support provided by public officials.
They have requested that the Paterson Police Department release the bodycam footage of the officer's interactions with Felix on the night he vanished. The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office showed the family four minutes of video. In that video, the family said Felix was asking for help, shivering on the ground. They were not permitted to see the entire video, reports NorthJersey.com.
"I want answers tonight,” demanded the missing man’s brother, Giovanni DeJesus, at a City Hall meeting, reports NorthJersey.com. “I don’t want to hear, ‘It’s under investigation.’ We all know it’s under investigation.”
His family said Felix should have been taken somewhere safe because he was inebriated, and the temperatures were below freezing that night, reports NorthJersey.com. The family said he was treated "like a bum" and left to "fend for himself," reports NorthJersey.com.
“Felix didn’t just go missing because he went missing,” Crystal Garcia, Felix DeJesus’ sister-in-law, said, reports NorthJersey.com. “Felix went missing after being in the hands of two officers and after that, he was never seen again.”
The Haledon Police Department reports that Felix was last seen in the area of Westside Park, behind John F. Kennedy High School around 9:00 pm.
Felix "Joey" DeJesus is 5'9" and weighs 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, black sweatpants, and black boots.
If you have any information, please contact the Haledon Police Department at 973-790-4444.