Left and Center: Audrey circa, 1977
Right: Age Progressed to age 53
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 15, 1977
Missing From: Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: September 24, 1958
Age: 18 years old
Height and Weight: 5’4″ and 115 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Audrey was diagnosed with hebephrenic schizophrenia at age 15 in 1974, she reportedly heard voices and became paranoid as a result and was taking large doses of the anti-psychotic medication Thorazine, she was under a doctors care at the time of her 1977 disappearance and she functions at the level of a 14 year old teenager, she has freckles on her nose, cheeks, hands, and shoulders and has a distinctive gap between her upper front teeth which was about a sixth of a inch wide at the time, Nerenberg was known to smoke cigarettes at the time she disappeared
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue tube top, a piece of blue jeans or shorts that were possible bleached, a sweater tied around her waist, open toed clear plastic sandals, Audrey was last known to be carrying a small brown shoulder bag which contained $2 in cash
NCMEC Number: 603933
Details of Disappearance
Audrey Nerenberg was last seen in Staten Island, New York on July 15th 1977. She was last seen leaving her family’s residence in the 1200 block of Ryder Street in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, New York at approximately 2:00 pm. Nerenberg told her mother that she was simply walking to the store two blocks away to purchase cigarettes. She was never seen again.
Audrey was previously hospitalized for brief periods of time between 1974 and 1977 as a result of her schizophrenia. She’s been placed in multiple medical facilities such as the Kong’s County Hospital in Brooklyn, Gracie Square Hospital in Manhattan, and the Hillside Medical Center in Queens. She was an outpatient at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center at the time of her disappearance.
Investigators have considered the possibility that Audrey left her home while disoriented and did not know her name. She was not carrying any identification or medication with her when she left. They believed it was possible that Audrey was admitted to a medical facility or hospital under the name “Jane Doe” which is a name given to a patient whose identity can not be confirmed.
Investigators and police did a search of medical facilities but found no record to indicate Audrey had been admitted to any of them. Her parents do not believe this occurred and stated that Audrey was doing very well with her medication before she disappeared and was able to make it her destinations safely. Audrey had no friends or acquaintances at the time and did not attend school.
She used to attend an adult daycare center until it closed. Audrey had no history of leaving on her own and while she did sometimes get lost while out on her own, she knew to call her family if she needed help.
Later during the day she disappeared, Audrey’s father received a ransom demand. The caller on the other end stated that he had better collect all the money he possibly could before he ever called back in exchange for her safe return. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was called and officials arrived at the home. They left later on when the person failed to call after 3 hours.
Audreys parents speculate that the caller was from the Flatbush area and watched as the officials entered their home that day. They believe it might have been someone who was known to the Nerenberg family. Investigators have been unable to confirm the identity of the person who called and made no attempts of tracing the calls location.￼
On July 14th 1977, Audrey went with her family to Staten Island, New York and they watched a movie at the Jerry Lewis Theater on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor. There is speculation that Audrey might have traveled back to Staten Island since her mental illness sometimes caused her to repeat previous actions.
A mentally incompetent predator known as Andre Rand has been looked at in relation to Nerenberg’s disappearance. In 1987, Rand abducted and murdered 12 year old Jennifer Schweiger of Staten Island. Her body was found near Rand’s former campsite. The campsite was also located near the theater that Audrey and her family visited the day before her disappearance. Rand was not convicted of killing Jennifer but was convicted of her abduction.
Rand is considered a possible suspect in the 1972 disappearance of Alice Pereira, the 1978 disappearance of Ethel Atwell, the 1983 abduction of Tiahease Jackson, and the 1984 disappearance of Henry Gafforio. In 2004, Rand was convicted of kidnapping Holly Hughes who disappeared in 1981. She remains missing.
Investigators believe that Rand might have been involved in several other missing persons cases in the Staten Island area but there’s no evidence that implicated him in any of them. Investigators have found no evidence he was involved in Audrey’s case but there’s much speculation that points towards the possibility.
Investigators also looked at a friend of Audrey’s brother as a possible suspect in her disappearance. In 1982, he was convicted of stabbing a woman and sentenced to 18 years in prison. The woman did survive the attack, however. Her father did not like the boy and would never allow him inside of the home. He lived one block away from her home.
He was questioned and interviewed after his conviction about Audrey’s disappearance but investigators had no evidence to show he was involved and he refused to take a polygraph test in her case. After Audrey vanished, he never asked to go inside the home. He has since been released from prison and now lives in New York City.
Before Audrey vanished, she accused the operator of a Flatbush area ice cream parlor of raping her. He denied the allegation, however, and stated that it was consensual sex. No charges were filed against him and it’s unknown if he’s considered a suspect in the case.
A large hole once stood on the walls but was cemented over after her disappearance. It’s unknown if the hole had any connection to her case. The owner sold the business and moved away from the area approximately 3 months after Audrey’s disappearance.
Investigators believe that foul play was involved in the case and that Nerenberg might be deceased. Her father believes that Audrey was adopted into a new family who gave her a new name and social security number. Audrey’s social security number hasn’t been used since 1977.
At the time of her disappearance, Audrey enjoyed shopping, music, and dancing. Her parents have since moved to Citrus Springs, Florida. They continue to search for their missing daughter. Investigators have never closed her case and it remains an active investigation.
Audrey’s disappearance remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
New York City Police Department 646-610-6914