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Body found floating in East River ID’d as cab driver struggling with depression


Kenny Chow, a taxi driver who went missing May 11, 2018, was battling depression and was struggling to pay off a $700,000 medallion loan. (Provided)

A body pulled from in the East River last week was identified as a despondent, financially troubled cabbie who vanished earlier this month.

Kenny Chow, 56, showed signs of depression in recent weeks as he struggled to earn enough cash to pay off a $700,000 loan on his taxi medallion, relatives said.

"We are in mourning today," his brother and fellow cab driver Richard Chow said Saturday.

"My brother lost hope as many other medallion owners looking for justice and fairness have."

Kenny Chow was last seen inside his yellow cab on E. 86th St. and East End Ave. on May 11.

For weeks, Chow's family feared the worst when they couldn't find the man who was forced to work longer hours for less pay amid the rise of Uber and other car-hailing apps.

Adding to his woes, Chow's wife was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in October, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

The couple has a 21-year-old daughter.

Police found the decomposed body near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Police found the decomposed body near the Brooklyn Bridge. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)

The search for Chow came to a grim end on Wednesday morning when a decomposed body was spotted floating in the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge.

Cops plucked the corpse from the water near Furman Street in Brooklyn Heights about 9:30 a.m.

The body was unrecognizable, requiring his family to supply the Medical Examiner with dental records in order to confirm the identity.

Chow's cause of death wasn't clear. The Medical Examiner's Office did not return a request for comment Saturday.

But his family and colleagues expressed little doubt that Chow took his own life.

"Kenny's family described him as a devoted father and husband who worked hard to provide for his loved ones," said Taxi Workers Alliance executive director Bhairavi Desai.

"Kenny's income plummeted in the last five years even as he worked increasingly grueling 14-hour-plus shifts desperate to make ends meet."

Richard Chow holds a missing poster of his brother Kenny Chow, who went missing on May 11, 2018.
Richard Chow holds a missing poster of his brother Kenny Chow, who went missing on May 11, 2018. (Dan Rivoli/New York Daily News)

Chow's death comes amid a spate of taxi driver suicides.

At least four cabbies have taken their lives since December, according to the Taxi Workers Alliance.

Taxi advocates blame City Hall for allowing ride-hailing apps to take over the city leaving yellow cab drivers fending for scraps.

"Make no mistake: The crisis that took Kenny's life and the lives of four other drivers pushed to suicide in recent months was entirely preventable," Desai said.

Chow's brother called on the city to take action in order to prevent the next taxi driver tragedy.

"NYC has to act as soon as possible on bringing fairness and a level playing field to the taxi industry before other medallion owners gets so depressed so that, out of desperation, they take their own life," he said.