ST. LOUIS – The alarming absence of funds in Jonathan Howard’s 401(k) account carries a weight as heavy as the August air.

“All of us need that money now to keep us afloat. We all have mortgages and car payments and children to take care of,” Howard said. “We could use that money to float on.”

Howard was among the hundreds of employees who lost their jobs when South City Hospital abruptly closed earlier this month.

“All of us are out of a job with really a moment’s notice. One or two days, that’s it,” he said.

In addition to looking for a new job, Howard says he’s trying to find out what happened to the money invested in his and his colleague’s employer-provided retirement accounts.

“So far, I’ve contacted three 401(k) companies. John Hancock. TransAmerica. Fidelity,” he said.

Howard is frustrated by the answers he’s received from the hospital’s human resources department.

“He’s been giving us one story one day and another story the next day,” he said.

Howard shared an email with FOX 2 he received Monday from Rob Boyd, the regional chief human resources officer for South City Hospital and Gateway Medical Center in Granite City.

In the email, Boyd explains he’s trying to create an account with TransAmerica, but notes it could take six to eight weeks, if it can even be done. Boyd says Howard’s money is in a John Hancock account, and they are waiting for Boyd to tell them which bank to send Howard’s funds. Howard says he isn’t so sure.

“Our money is somewhere; I’m sure somebody is making some interest off it. Unfortunately, it’s just another incident of the long-time financial mismanagement of the hospital,” Howard said.

FOX 2 spoke with Boyd. He assured us the former hospital employees’ money is secure and currently sits in John Hancock accounts. He says he’s working tirelessly with a third-party 401k administrator to provide a resolution to the South City Hospital retirement accounts.

Boyd acknowledged it’s an unfortunate situation, one he himself is dealing with as an employee. He tells us he’ll continue to update the affected employees. And we will keep close tabs on this until it’s resolved.