The 11-day search to find Frank Goldberg has turned into a dogged one for her family and friends, who struggled through Christmas without her. Now, they are hoping their exhaustive plea through social media and hiring a private investigator shortly before Christmas will help find her.
Still, the tightknit family and friends of the well-known member of the local Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community refuses to give up hope that Goldberg, 36, who was also known as Aimee Goldberg when she grew up in the Southtowns, is safe somewhere.
The Orchard Park High School graduate had recently returned to Buffalo for a holiday visit after having moved to Portland, Ore., in late August. Thursday, though, her family acknowledged she had “a hard re-entry” here, emotionally. “Frank was in a very difficult place, personally, on Monday night” when she went missing Dec. 16, said her sister, Harmony Goldberg.
“We fear the worst. It’s been a long time,” Harmony Goldberg said of her missing sister. But she was quick to add: “She had a hard time that night, but she’s a survivor. I’m eternally grateful for the amount of love out there holding us up. We just hope Frank can feel it.”
The family believes that Goldberg – whom they described as very loving and valued deeply by those in her life – left her brother’s home on the city’s West Side sometime in the evening of Dec. 16. Her family said that she was last seen at about 5:30 p.m. and that they discovered she was missing at about 9 p.m.
“We do not believe Frank was a victim of a hate crime, and we do not think it is likely there was any kind of foul play,” her sister, Harmony Goldberg, wrote in an email forwarded to The Buffalo News on Thursday.
“Even though we know Frank to be a survivor and fighter, we are deeply concerned for her safety. We thought she would return home, but since she hasn’t, we are calling on the community to help find her,” she said.
Frank Goldberg was last seen wearing a hunter green canvas coat with a hood, blue jeans, black-laced boots and black wire-framed eyeglasses. She is described as wearing “tom boy” attire, and as about 5-feet-5 and 150 pounds, with short, graying blond hair. She took her wallet, containing identification and cash, but does not have her phone with her. Relatives said she left without telling anyone, and had left a vague note in her apartment.
Over the weekend, searchers covered the Allentown area and the West Side, and put up posters and fliers at local businesses. Many who know her are following detailed updates on a recently created Facebook page titled “Help Find Frank Goldberg.”
City police continue to try to find her but have no new information. “Detectives continue to work the case,” said Michael J. DeGeorge, spokesman for the Buffalo Police Department. “At this time, police say there doesn’t appear to be any sign of abduction.”
Police are asking anyone who might have information to contact them by calling the Confidential Tip Line at 847-2255.
Goldberg’s relatives described her as a dedicated activist and advocate in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community – with a long history of providing support and services to those with addictions and harm reduction issues, in particular. She has helped build a transgender support group at Buffalo’s Pride Center.
Harmony Goldberg spoke Thursday about how loving and strong her sister is. “She is both gruff and gentle,” Harmony Goldberg said, noting her sister’s love of animals and that she owns two cats, Monkey and Tort.
“She is incredibly caring and sweet, able to hold the hard and rough edges of life with a tender and gentle hand,” Harmony Goldberg said.
Frank Goldberg is described as “proudly gender-queer,” having a masculine gender presentation, while intentionally choosing to use the pronoun “she.” Her sister said Frank is one of the bravest people she knows. “She has struggled with so many profound challenges in her life, and every time she has summoned the courage to overcome, and to keep moving forward,” Harmony Goldberg said.
Frank Goldberg’s brother and sister both credited the community’s deep commitment to find her.
Jesse Goldberg made a point of sending his missing sister a message, saying that if she’s feeling self-conscious because of all the public attention and wants to avoid the spotlight, it’s all right to feel that way. “We just want word that she’s safe and OK,” Jesse Goldberg said. “We realize the public attention and community outreach can be intimidating, but we love her. We’re worried, but knowing that she’s OK is really important. Just get word to us that she’s OK.”
Meanwhile, her family has notified her social networks and searched places where she tends to spend time. They are reaching out to the community for more support in helping locate her. Those who may have information about her whereabouts are asked to email relatives at FindFrankGoldberg@gmail.com or go to the Facebook page, Find Frank Goldberg, and post information.
“A Gathering for Frank” is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. this evening in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave.
“We won’t silence anyone’s pain, though we’re having a lot of pain,” Harmony Goldberg said. “It’s not a fake funeral or memorial.”