Pawtucket mom finds son’s body in river, says police didn’t do enough

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE): John Cosme, a 27-year-old father of 3, was found dead in the West River in Providence, by his own mother on June 6th.

His mother, Ana Peralta, said she was forced to take matters into her own hands because police wouldn’t search the water.

Peralta filed a missing person report for Cosme in late April. Feeling helpless, she stood outside the police department each day for over a month, holding a sign that said, “Help me find my son.”

“I went to the Pawtucket Police Department, then I went to Providence for half an hour, maybe 40 minutes,” Peralta said. “I didn’t care if I was by myself. I just wanted to find my son.”

Peralta was able to find a clue as to where Cosme was last seen, after her daughter got a video from a friend of Cosme when he was alive, near the West River by Branch Avenue.

“I saw that video and said ‘Okay, we found the location.’ We went running,” Erika Estacio, Cosme’s sister, said. “We didn’t see him but we saw his shoe.”

Estacio said police send a search party, but she believes they didn’t take it seriously.

“They probably think he’s getting high somewhere or he overdosed,” Estacio said.

Peralta said they also didn’t check the water after Estacio asked many times.

“They never checked it, the water runs right through the woods so why not check it,” Estacio said.

Peralta had been going to the spot many times, searching for her son. But on June 6, she went with a friend of the family and checked the water themselves.

Peralta said her friend brought fishing waders to wear, so they could search the river.

“I saw my son, laying there helpless,” Peralta said in tears. “He didn’t deserve to die like that, it hurts me so bad.”

Peralta and her daughter don’t blame police for Cosme’s death, but believe they should have done more to find him. They said if they hadn’t found the body themselves, they aren’t sure Cosme would be have been found.

“It didn’t take me more than 20 minutes to go in the water and find my own son,” Peralta said.

“He is a person, he’s a father,” Estacio said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, you deserve to be found.”

The family said investigators are still working on Cosme’s cause of death and waiting for a toxicology report.

ABC6 News has been in contact with the Pawtucket Police Department. They declined to go on camera and were expected to send a statement, which has not been provided at this time.

©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020


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