Bill Perkins, the Harlem political stalwart who spent more than 20 years representing the neighborhood on the New York City Council and in the state senate, was found Wednesday morning after going missing from his apartment Tuesday afternoon.
Perkins, whose last Council term ended less than three weeks ago, has faced questions for years about his health. He was taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation in 2019 after neighbors found him acting erratically, an episode he blamed at the time on the effects of cancer treatment. Last year The City reported on concerns among colleagues about signs of memory loss and disorientation, all of which his office denied.
Perkins, 72, was reported missing in the early hours of Wednesday morning, having last been seen at his Morningside Avenue apartment Tuesday afternoon.
According to law enforcement sources, Perkins was subsequently found about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Bronx by officers out on patrol in the 46th Precinct -- which is roughly 6 miles from where he lives and was last seen. The NYPD said he was in "good health and condition" and had been reunited with family.
Perkins served on the City Council from 1998 to 2005 and again from 2017 to 2021, representing the 9th District; in between he spent 10 years in the state senate.
To the surprise of colleagues, he ran for re-election last year. (Even close allies who'd known him for decades reportedly said he had trouble remembering people and events and wasn't in a condition to represent the neighborhood anymore.)
But Perkins' staffers insisted he was up to the task, and he ultimately led a close, heavily contested primary race against Democratic Socialist Kristin Richardson Jordan through 12 rounds of ranked-choice voting.
Jordan pulled ahead in the final round, though, and won by 114 votes after a recount.