‘A senseless crime.’ Family mourns Bayonne nurse killed in Times Square mugging

The family of a Bayonne nurse who died following a mugging in New York City says that it was a senseless crime.
Carlito Santa Maria says that he can’t believe that his older sister Maria Ambrocio survived the COVID-19 pandemic as a front-line worker, only to fall victim to a random crime.
“What could I say? She’s my big sister. Growing up she was like my bodyguard. No one bulled me in school,” he says.
Santa Maria remembers happier times with Ambrocio. But this past weekend, he was with her during her last moments after she was knocked down when a man allegedly tried to steal a phone from another woman in Times Square on Friday.
“The day that she was still alive on the ventilator, I was telling her, ‘You’ll be with your mother and father.’ And when they took her off life support, I was holding her hands,” he says.
Ambrocio lived in Bayonne, not far from where she worked at Bayonne Medical Center as an oncology nurse. She moved to the United States from the Philippines in the late 1980s. She and Santa Maria were in New York on Friday visiting the consulate with friends.
On Monday, the Filipino community in New York held a memorial Mass in her honor.
The siblings were two of four in the United States. The rest of their family lives in the Philippines. Their father passed away last spring from COVID-19. They were supposed to go back when it was safe, to give him a proper burial.
“It’s a senseless crime. I normally watch the crime stories and never in my dreams would I think my family would be involved in a crime like this,” Santa Maria says.
Ambrocio leaves behind her brother and his family, along with her husband, stepchildren and grandchildren.
An Irvington man was arrested and charged for the robbery and assault. When Ambrocio died on Saturday, the charges were upgraded.
Ambrocio’s wake will be held on Oct. 17 at S. Fryczynski & Son Funeral Home in Bayonne. A funeral will be held on Oct. 18 at St. Henry’s Catholic Church at 10:45 a.m.