WOODSIDE, NY - Fifty-four-year old Audie Ortiz Jr. has been homeless, he says, for at least two weeks.
He’s usually found in Woodside, New York begging money mostly from kababayans.
He says he’s been sleeping in subway train stations to keep him warm during cold winter nights.
Oritiz said being homeless is not easy, “Mahirap ho, hindi ako maka-shower po eh, ang baho ko nga eh!”
Ortiz says while he receives a thousand dollars a month from his social security and disability, finding an apartment is not easy because of his appearance.
Ortiz says he came to the US in 1981, eventually became a legal resident and worked odd jobs –from being a security guard to a caregiver in a nursing home facility.
Ortiz claims he lost his job in 1990 — and has not worked since.
“Hindi ako nag-resign, nag quit,’ he said. “Nag-missing in action po ako, tapos naging mentally ill po ako, kasi hindi ako makahanap ng trabaho po,” Ortiz said.
He claims to have been diagnosed with paranoia for which he said he is now taking medication.
Balitang America ran into him again in Woodside, New York last week, when he made yet another claim—that he had killed people, and was wanted by the police.
Ortiz claimed “Nakapatay po ako ng tatlong African American saka isang puti po eh, hindi po ako nakulong.”
Ortiz says he has immediate relatives in the US but said none of them have offered to help him.
“Nandito po kaming lahat,” Ortiz said, “Hindi po wala pong space, wala pong space, saka hindi nila ako tinatanggap dahil alam mo naman serial killer po ako.”
In about an hour after the interview, Ortiz was taken down by an undercover police officer.
Witnesses say he yelled at and scared a passerby who called 911. In just a matter of minutes he was tackled to the ground by at least 5 officers and then handcuffed.
He was eventually taken by an ambulance to a nearby hospital.
NYPD Public Information Officer told Balitang America on Monday that there was no record of Ortiz’s arrest and that he may have been just taken in for medical treatment and psychological evaluation.