An immigrant from Guatemala, Moises Locón is missing after the East Village explosion in New York City on Thursday afternoon. He was working at Sushi Park, the restaurant on the ground floor near the epicenter of the blast, as a busboy to save money to return to his home country. His full name is Moises Ismael Locón Yac, and he's been living in Queens for the past seven years. The owner of Sushi Park, a well-loved restaurant where the sushi was always half price, was overcome with emotion in an interview with The New York Times as he described Locón as a friend. Pablo Yac, Locón's cousin, told the newspaper on Friday:
I have a strong pain in my heart because I haven’t seen him in a day. I have a pain in my heart — for him and for the other families who don’t know where their loved ones are.
Locón has been described a hard worker. He worked 12-hour shifts from noon to midnight six days a week, so he could return home and live well in Guatemala, his older brother, Alfredo, told The Wall Street Journal. Locón's girlfriend and many other relatives still live in Guatemala. On the rare day Locón was off work from Sushi Park, he liked to spend his days at the park being uncle to his brother's children.
Even though he wanted to go home to Guatemala, Locón ended up falling at least a little bit in love with New York City. According to the Times, he had a baseball cap in his room with the words "New York" stitched on it, his Facebook cover photo was of the Empire State Building, and he had a framed cover of The New Yorker that depicted a cat overlooking the cityscape from a window.
The explosion occurred Thursday afternoon at a building at 2nd Avenue and 7th Street in Manhattan, injuring more than 20 people. Investigators recently found that the gas line had been "illegally tapped," which created a hazardous situation seven months ago, though it was cleared for service to resume. Authorities believe the cause of the blast was likely leaking natural gas.
Also reported missing was Nicholas Figueroa, a 23-year-old who was on a date at Sushi Park at the time of the explosion. He was a local New Yorker who graduated from SUNY Buffalo State this past December. Zacarias Locón, Locón’s younger brother, said of his brother and Figueroa:
They’re going to appear. We have to have confidence in God and they will appear.
Locón and Figueroa were the only two people reported missing during the explosion. On Sunday afternoon, searchers found two bodies in the rubble, one of which was later confirmed to be Nicholas Figueroa. On Sunday evening, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said "everyone who was reported missing has been found," which appeared to confirm the second body belonged to Locón, the only person who is still reported missing.
Image: Moises Lacon/Facebook