'Missing' investigates a Brooklyn mom's relentless quest to solve daughter's twisted disappearance

The disturbing disappearance of her daughter turned a Brooklyn mom into a full-time investigator; Eyewitness News joins the case

ByKristin Thorne and Emily Sowa via
Friday, July 8, 2022
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In this episode of "Missing" Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Kristin Thorne profiles a young mother, Chelsea Michelle Cobo, who vanished from Brooklyn in 2016.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- In this episode of 'Missing', Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Kristin Thorne profiles a young mother, Chelsea Michelle Cobo, who vanished from Brooklyn in 2016.

For almost six years, Chelsea's desperate mother, Rose, has been doing everything she can to find her, uncovering her daughter's darkest secrets, imperiling her own safety to get answers from people who don't want to talk, and holding the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office accountable.

This is the story of a mother's relentless quest to piece together the twisted puzzle of her daughter's disappearance, a woman who is ready to follow the leads wherever they may take her.

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Here is a timeline of Chelsea's case:

CHELSEA COBO TIMELINE
  • November 8, 1993 - Chelsea Cobo is born.
  • Dec. 10, 1994 - Chelsea begins living with Rose. Rose's brother was Chelsea's father. Both he and Chelsea's mother suffered from mental illness and were unable to care for Chelsea.
  • 1999/2000 - Rose adopts Chelsea when Chelsea is 7-years-old. Rose had been caring for Chelsea since she was 13-months old. Rose's brother was Chelsea's father. Both he and Chelsea's mother suffered from mental illness and were unable to care for Chelsea.
  • 2008 - 2012 - Chelsea attends Bishop Kearney High School in Brooklyn.
  • July 11, 2015 - Chelsea, now 21, gives birth to her son.
  • October 2016 - Chelsea starts partying a lot and is spending less time with her son. She is most likely suffering from post-partum depression, Rose said.
  • February 27, 2016 - Chelsea's birth mom passes away and Chelsea slips into a deep depression.
  • March 24 - April 12, 2016 - Chelsea is checked into Coney Island Hospital. She is paired with a roommate who convinces her to allow visitors under Chelsea's name. The roommate is not allowed to have visitors.
  • April 12 - April 21, 2016 - Chelsea stays at home with Rose after hospital stay.
  • April 21 - 24, 2016 - Chelsea goes out and doesn't come home, but her family knew where she was, hanging out with friends. She fails to return on the night she was supposed to come home. Alarmed, Rose starts texting her, and she initially does not respond. Rose says she's going to have to report her missing. Chelsea responds right away that she's OK and tells her mom to "relax."
  • April 24, 2016 - Chelsea takes a selfie while out at night. Rose later discovers the picture and what appears to be bruises on Chelsea's right arm.
  • April 25, 2016 - Chelsea returns home and films herself walking through the front door. Rose returns home from dropping a friend at work in Manhattan and finds Chelsea upstairs unresponsive. Chelsea told Rose she had been "drugged and robbed" the night before. Chelsea is admitted to Maimonides Hospital. Doctors detect Oxy in her system.
  • April 26 - May 3, 2016 - Chelsea checks into psych ward at Maimonides.
  • May 3, 2016 - Chelsea is released from Maimonides.
  • May 4, 2016 - Chelsea goes to "run errands" and get her "hair done" for Rose's birthday. Rose picks her up and Chelsea appears stoned. She tells Rose it's from the psychiatric drugs she just began taking. Rose later finds out that Chelsea did not run errands, but saw the visitor from the hospital and that he delivered drugs to her.
  • May 5, 2016 - Chelsea stays home.
  • May 6, 2016 - Early in the morning, Rose hears noises from the bathroom. She pounds on the door and finds Chelsea with a syringe. Chelsea says she wants to get clean. Rose takes Chelsea to Lutheran Hospital for detox. Hospital suggests transferring her to St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers. Later that night, Rose gets a call at the house from Chelsea's friend asking if she made it home from the hospital. Rose knows Chelsea is supposed to be at the hospital. She starts texting Chelsea.
  • May 6, 2016 (11:35 pm) - Chelsea calls Rose and they speak for 13-minutes. Chelsea says she and her boyfriend - who she identifies as the visitor from the hospital - are going to get "sushi and ice cream" and then she'll be home. This is the last time Rose talks to Chelsea.
  • May 7, 2016 - The visitor from the hospital leaves Rose a voicemail that he dropped Chelsea off at 68th Street in Bay Parkway, which is a few blocks from where Chelsea lived. He later tells Rose in a text message that while he was in the car with Chelsea, Chelsea was on the phone with a woman.
  • May 7, 2016 (11:35 pm) - Rose files a missing persons case with the NYPD 66th Precinct.
  • May 7, 2016 (Approximately 1:40 am) - Chelsea gets into a cab and was dropped off somewhere near La Floridita Restaurant and Club, which no longer exists. We do not know if she ever went inside the restaurant. Police looked at surveillance and didn't see her there, but they tell Rose the quality of the video is not good and is grainy.
  • May 7, 2016 (1:41 am) - A man leaves Rose voicemail that he dropped Chelsea off at home but she was walking away. He says "if she does anything else" he "has nothing to do with that.'
  • May 10, 2016 - Surveillance video shows a woman who appears to be Chelsea leaving a house on 51st Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The house belongs to a family friend of the man whose house they were all apparently doing drugs at the night Chelsea disappeared. The family provided the surveillance video to police. The NYPD feels strongly it is Chelsea. Rose does not. The NYPD never confirmed if the woman was Chelsea.
  • May 14, 2016 - Rose finds out that NYPD detectives tried to interview the roommate from the hospital at her apartment in Brooklyn, but the roommate's mother would not let them speak with her daughter.
  • Summer of 2016 - Brooklyn DA launches sex-trafficking investigation into Chelsea's disappearance.
  • September 19, 2016 - Brooklyn DA interviews Chelsea's roommate from Coney Island Hospital who says she, Chelsea and two other men we're doing drugs at a house on 56th Street in Brooklyn. The roommate said Chelsea left with one of those men and she hasn't heard from them since.
  • September 27, 2016 - Brooklyn DA interviews the man that the roommate told investigators whose house they were all at the night Chelsea went missing. The roommate said they were doing drugs at his house.
  • May 16, 2017 - Rose speaks at NYC town hall with former Mayor Bill De Blasio.
  • June 7, 2017 - A detective tells Rose they could have "tried harder" to look at other cameras on 51st Street where they found surveillance video of a woman appearing to be Chelsea leaving a house. He said detectives "could have" looked at other cameras along the street to see where the woman went.
  • February 1, 2018 - Rose has a conversation with an NYPD detective about where the case stands.
  • March 2, 2018 - Rose has a conversation with an NYPD detective regarding Chelsea's case. The detective hangs up on Rose.
  • Summer of 2018 - Brooklyn DA tells Rose they are closing the sex-trafficking investigation because they do not believe Chelsea was trafficked. They send the case back to Missing Persons.
  • January 27, 2019 - Rose confronts the man who was living at the house where Chelsea, the roommate and another man were apparently doing drugs the night Chelsea disappeared. He tells Rose that Chelsea overdosed and that the roommate asked him to help dispose of Chelsea's body by wrapping a blanket around her corpse and putting needles around it. Rose provides the recording that day to the NYPD.
  • March 7, 2019 - Rose finds out that Chelsea's case is leaving the Missing Persons Squad and is going back to the original detective in the 66th Precinct who handled Chelsea's case and that the NYPD Homicide Squad will now assist with the investigation. To this day, Rose does not know where Chelsea's case is within the NYPD. Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Kristin Thorne asked the NYPD which department is handling Chelsea's case. They said they had reached out to the person who would have that answer, but they never provided an answer.
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    This series' conception began back in September of 2021, the first day I covered the disappearance of Gabby Petito and met with her distraught parents on Long Island. The story consumed the next two months of my life.

    Throughout this time, I spoke routinely with Gabby's father, Joseph Petito. Most of what we spoke about, I have never reported, but one thing he made clear to me is that he wanted the media to cover other missing people. He said they deserved attention, too, and he was right.

    WATCH | Kristin Thorne on the emotional process behind investigative series 'Missing'

    I started to look at databases of missing people across the Tri-State area and as I scrolled through the hundreds of faces, I thought about not only those people but their families and friends and the ripple effect of pain that is caused when they disappeared.

    I thought, "Maybe I can help?"

    I started calling private investigators around New York City looking for cases to profile.

    We first profiled the story of Leanne Marie Hausberg, which you can watch below.

    Maybe after watching my latest story, you will be able to help with a clue. Let's help Chelsea's family, the way everyone helped Gabby Petito's family.

    Rose Cobo has raised the reward for information leading to Chelsea from $10,000.00 to $50,000. She is also part of a team designing an app called 911Missing.org. The app will instantly notify law enforcement, the media and the public when someone disappears.

    Anonymous tips about Chelsea's disappearance can also be sent directly to Rose Cobo at the address below:


    Rose Cobo
    P.O. Box 40-487
    Brooklyn NY 11204

    If you know anything about the disappearance of Chelsea Michelle Cobo, call the NYPD Missing Persons Squad at 212-694-7781. Tips can be kept anonymous.

    This new episode of 'Missing' is now streaming on our ABC7 New York app.

    If you want to have a better viewing experience, you can download our ABC7NY app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV. To download our app, viewers can search "ABC7 New York" in the app store.

    CREDITS:

    Kristin Thorne | Writer, Producer, Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter

    Emily Sowa | Senior Digital Producer, Videographer, and Editor

    Stephen Cioffi Photographer

    Rolando Pujol | EP Digital Content, Innovation and Strategy

    Dana Bussey | Creative Director, Design

    Jim Gorham | Vice President, Marketing

    Kim Dillon | Assistant News Director

    Peter Kunz | Assistant News Director

    Jason Kuffler | Graphic Artist

    Robert Monek | EP Web and OTV Digital Project Manager

    Adam Stephan | Managing Editor

    Brian McLaughlin | Assignment Editor

    Brandon Nelson | Creative Director, Brand

    Toby Hershkowitz | Marketing Producer

    Luke Richards | Senior Manager, Content Development

    Chad Matthews | President and General Manager

    Debra OConnell | President, Networks Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

    SPECIAL THANKS

    Townsend Davis

    Copyright 2022 | WABC-TV

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