2007-07-20 / Front Page

Accident, Suicide, Hoax? Questions Remain

By Howard Schwach

At press time, detectives from the 100 Precinct were still trying to unravel a beach mystery that began on Tuesday night and has left officials unsure of whether they are dealing with an accidental drowning death, a suicide or a hoax.

On Wednesday morning, the search for the man seen going into the water the night before was resumed. Lifeguard Chief Janet Fash dives into the water from a police Zodiac boat filled with police divers as the search resumed with negative results. On Wednesday morning, the search for the man seen going into the water the night before was resumed. Lifeguard Chief Janet Fash dives into the water from a police Zodiac boat filled with police divers as the search resumed with negative results. What is known is that at about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, two people out for a walk on the boardwalk at Beach 108 Street saw a fully-clothed man described as being white and in his 30's, walk down onto the beach, take off his clothes and enter the water.

The unidentified couple, thinking it was strange behavior, continued to watch for a while. When the man did not come out of the water, they feared for his safety and made a cell phone call to the 911 system.

Police and fire units responded. An NYPD helicopter with thermal imaging was called in to the search, but could not find any heat signatures on the surface of the water. Officers and firefighters with hand-held thermal imagers walked the shorefront.

Detectives and police officers from the Emergency Services Unit use a thermal imaging device to look for hot spots on the beach and in the water. Detectives and police officers from the Emergency Services Unit use a thermal imaging device to look for hot spots on the beach and in the water. Divers went into the dark water to search for a body.

Police said that the results of all the searches were negative.

At the same time, police say they found a wallet and other personal items in the pocket of the pants that had been left on the beach.

The wallet contained documents, police say, suggesting that the man's name is Jeremy Blak. Police sources did not provide Blak's address or any other identifying information.

The search was resumed on Wednesday morning, after a heavy rain had stopped.

Lifeguards, including Lifeguard Chief Janet Fash, joined in the search, but no body was found.

Local police sources say that officials are unsure whether the man simply went swimming and drowned, whether he commited suicide, or whether he came out of the water safe but unseen.

The water search was ended on Wednesday afternoon, but police are still seeking information on Blak.

The mystery will continue until he is found alive or his body surfaces.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 100 Precinct Detective Squad at 718-318-4221.

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