Woman vanishes at NYC skyscraper

July 9, 2009 1:24:57 PM PDT
A Manhattan skyscraper in one of the most security-conscious parts of the city has become the scene of an unlikely missing persons mystery. Police are trying to figure out what happened to a cleaning woman who vanished midway through her shift Tuesday evening at an office tower a few hundred feet from the World Trade Center reconstruction site.

Eridania Rodriguez, 46, punched in for work at 2 Rector Street around 5 p.m. She donned her blue uniform, chatted with other after-hours employees and was last seen on security cameras around 7 p.m., according to a lawyer for her family, Daniel Ferreira.

Then, she disappeared.

The building's cameras never recorded her leaving the skyscraper. She didn't meet up with co-workers for her regular subway ride home to Manhattan's Washington Heights section. Her purse and street clothes remained in her locker.

The woman's family is distraught and fears the worst, Ferreira said.

"She had been complaining about a guy at the building who made her kind of nervous," he said. "And she worked on floors that had been empty."

He said Rodriguez is married with several children. One of her brothers is Victor Martinez, a top-ranked professional bodybuilder.

Police quietly sealed off the building Wednesday morning to hunt for clues. They found no trace of the missing woman. Workers were finally allowed back in shortly before noon.

"It's a mind blower. How do you go missing here?" said Rob Ross, an executive assistant in the studio of architect Daniel Libeskind, who moved to the tower after getting the commission to redesign ground zero.

Security in the building is typical for the financial district. Employees need identification cards to enter. Security cameras cover every entrance and many public areas. Every visitor is photographed before they are allowed up from the lobby.

Officials at the company that operates the building, Stellar Management, declined to comment.

Built in 1909, the skyscraper has more than 400,000 square feet of interior space and rises 26 stories. Besides Studio Daniel Libeskind, the building's tenants include the architectural firm NBBJ, several law firms and, until recently, a division of the city's transportation department.

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