Edward Amanfo thought all was well when his friend moved out of the Bronx apartment they were sharing.
His friend, 34-year-old Jonathan Agorbia, told Amanfo he was going to stay with a friend on Long Island because the coronavirus shutdown had him feeling cooped up in the city.
But then last week cops came to Amanfo, 38, with the terrible truth: His friend had been living out of his car parked outside a McDonald’s less than half a mile from the apartment they had shared — and was found dead in the vehicle.
“When I heard the information that he was dead in the Bronx, I was shocked,” said Amanfo, who works as a security guard in Manhattan. “He said he had a friend in Long Island — and all the while I thought he was there.”
Jonathan Agorbia was discovered dead inside his car in front of the McDonald’s on Webster Ave. at Belmont St. in Claremont at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 28. The city medical examiner’s office will determine his cause of death.
The McDonald’s is just on the other side of Claremont Park from the building where the two men had lived together.
“I never even thought he was around in the Bronx here,” a still bewildered Amanfo said.
The two men knew each other from the village in Ghana where they grew up.
Agorbia was married to an American woman and lived with her in Maryland. He first met his future wife when she came to Ghana as a volunteer with the Peace Corps, Amanfo said.
In August, tired of being stuck in the city during the coronavirus shutdown, Agorbia told Amanfo he was moving to the friend’s place on Long Island. Now Amanfo wonders if that friend ever existed.
Agorbia still showed up every few weeks to pick up his mail, which kept arriving at Amanfo’s place.
“Anytime he wants to come, he knows my off days are Wednesdays and Thursdays,” Amanfo said. “He comes and he picks up the letters.”
The last time Agorbia came by was a week before his body was discovered.
Amanfo said his friend seemed to be fine during that final visit but there was an issue with his car. Agoribia was a Lyft driver and one of the last letters he picked up contained a threat from a bank to repossess his car.
On Facebook, Agoribia showed a lot of love for his car, posing with it and even posting a picture of the vehicle surrounded by hearts emojis.
Cops told Amanfo much of what Agorbia owned was found in the backseat.
“They even saw buckets that he used to bathe himself, all those kinds of things,” Amanfo said. “So maybe he never told me the truth. Maybe he never had any friends.”
Amanfo said he wonders exactly how long his friend was living in the car and if anybody noticed.
“He’s a good person,” Amanfo said. “It’s very sad.”