In the early hours of March 4, 2018, the 23-year-old mother of three, who had been living in New Zealand, was waiting in the car park of a small suburb of Auckland when she heard a knock at the door.
She looked out to see a woman wearing a white T-shirt and a white coat, who told her she needed to come in and help her son who had gone missing in New Jersey, where she was vacationing.
“She said, ‘Hi, I’m Linda, and I just wanted to let you know I’m in New York right now’,” Ms MacLaren said.
“I was just overwhelmed by the sheer number of people I’ve never met.”
It was such a shock to be in the city, it was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on?’
“Ms MacLarlan was devastated.
She had just returned from a four-week trip to the US, where her son, Luke, was living with his mother.
Her first thought was to contact police, but she realised there was little to do as the authorities were busy with the coronavirus pandemic.”
My phone rang, and then my phone rang again and I said, Oh my God!
It’s my baby.
“Ms Maclaren’s reaction was to dial 911 and tell the operator she was waiting at a stop sign.”
Then I was like oh my God,” she said.
It was then that she saw a man and his two children who had arrived at the New York City Police Department on the afternoon of the missing man.”
He said, I just need you to come down to the precinct and bring Luke home.
He said, this is my baby.
We just kept asking each other how it was going, we kept going and going.””
I don’t know what he was thinking but I felt a bit of relief that they’d come, she said, adding that she was grateful for the help she had been given.”
We just kept asking each other how it was going, we kept going and going.
“Ms Matthews was diagnosed with Ebola in December 2016 and was treated at the Queens Hospital.
She was discharged and her son was then reunited with his family when the coronacovirus was detected in New England in late March.”
When Luke was in the back seat, my heart was in my throat.
I thought, oh my god, my baby is dead.
And then it just felt like the world was going to end,” Ms Matthews said.
The mother-of-three said she was not prepared to give up hope, but was now more than ready to move on.”
Luke was a wonderful boy, he was such an angel.
I just thought, I can’t possibly keep him safe.
“Topics:family,death,disasters-and-accidents,health,family-and-$women,family,family—psychology,health-policy,familyand-children,diseases-and_disorders,community-and‑society,new-zealandFirst posted March 05, 2019 07:56:39Contact Sarah BurchillMore stories from New Zealand