Mom Learns Missing Daughter Was Killed When Hospital Bill Arrives
ST. ALBANS — The mother of a woman killed by a round of illegal silicone injections was left in the dark about her daughter's death for a month — and only learned her child had died when she received a bill from a hospital emergency room, she said Tuesday.
The body of 22-year-old Tamara Blaine lay unclaimed in the city morgue from the day of her death, July 8, until August as her mother, Lola Blaine, searched desperately for her whereabouts — even filing a missing persons report with the NYPD within days of her disappearance, family lawyer Barry Weiss said.
Detectives told the worried mom her daughter might be on vacation or traveling with a boyfriend, Weiss said.
“When I lost her, nobody helped me," Lola Blaine said Tuesday. “When I looked for her, nobody was there for me. Everybody ignored me. That’s just the way it is. I called the police. They didn't do anything. She died. She was 22 years old."
Blaine said she last saw her daughter the morning of her death.
"She left here happy,” she said.
Within hours of last seeing her mother, Tamara Blaine had an appointment with Tamira Mobley, 28, an unlicensed plastic surgery practitioner who injected silicone into the younger Blaine's buttocks at the by-the-hour Liberty Inn motel in the Meatpacking District, according to prosecutors.
Mobley sent the chemical directly into Blaine's veins, putting her in a seizure-like state and eventually asphyxiating her, prosecutors said.
Blaine foamed at the mouth and writhed in pain, sources said. But Mobley waited 90 minutes to seek help, eventually going to the hotel's front desk and telling them to call 911, sources and prosecutors said.
Mobley accompanied Blaine to St. Luke's hospital, but told doctors there she had no idea what happened and then left, prosecutors said. Blaine died at the hospital.
Lola Blaine tried to enlist police to look for her daughter but was told her daughter was old enough to be independent and might have gone off without telling her mother, said Weiss.
"I think they took a wait-and-see approach," Weiss said. "That's what I think Lola was a little upset about at the beginning. She knew. It was a mother's instinct that something was wrong."
Tamara, a former York College student, lived at home with her 5-year-old son, Amare, Weiss said.
"She was a good kid," Weiss said. "There wasn't anything unusual until a couple of days came and she said she hasn't been in touch...[Lola Blaine] began to suspect that perhaps there was something missing."
Meanwhile, Blaine's body was being held at the city medical examiner's office until the bill from St. Luke's hospital emergency room arrived at Lola Weiss' house, asking for payment for her visit July 8, Weiss said.
After Lola Blaine contacted the hospital, she began to connect the dots that led her to her daughter's fate, Weiss said.
Weiss, on behalf of the family, tracked down Tamara Blaine's remains at the city morgue, where her mother identified her, he said.
Tamara Blaine was buried on Aug. 10, more than a month after her death, Weiss said.
About two months later, on Oct. 7, the medical examiner's office ruled that Blaine's death was a homicide, police said.
It took police another five months to arrest Mobley in connection with the death. Mobley used her credit card to pay for the motel room, prosecutors said. She admitted to police on March 10 that she met Blaine at the hotel and provided her the illegal silicone but denied injecting her with it, sources said.
Sources said it took five months to arrest her because police had been conducting "a thorough investigation."
Weiss said he didn't blame prosecutors, police or the medical examiner's office, adding that initial tests for Blaine's cause of death were inconclusive.
"My understanding was there was no obvious signs [of foul play]," he said. "It really wasn't until the coroner found the puncture wounds in her buttocks that they began to look for a cause to why Tamara was gone."
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the missing persons investigation or the reported failure to notify Blaine's family.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner defended its handling of the case.
"All the appropriate procedures were followed concerning family notification, the identification of the decedent and release of the body," said Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman.
Bolcer declined to give the date the family was told about the death or when Blaine's body was released, citing privacy concerns.
Lola Blaine said she will carry her daughter's memory, no matter how officials handled her death.
"They look at her like she's less than a dog [and] forget about her," she said. "I value her."