2007-08-03 / Community

Blake's Body Found Floating Off NJ Shore

By Howard Schwach

Blake and Duncan at an art event late last year. Blake and Duncan at an art event late last year. Law enforcement sources in both New York and New Jersey have confirmed that a body, found floating four miles from Sea Girt, New Jersey by a fisherman on July 22, is that of noted artist Jeremy Blake, who touched off a massive emergency response when he was seen taking off his clothing and entering the water at Beach 102 Street on the evening of July 17.

"Dr. Haskell Askin, the forensic odontologist of the Ocean County Medical Examiner has identified the man as Jeremy Blake, 35, of New York City," a spokesperson for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office told The Wave. "Blake was identified by dental comparison with records provided by a New York City dentist."

The spokesperson added that an autopsy was conducted, but a determination of the cause of death is pending, awaiting toxicology reports.

Sources at the New York City Police Department, however, said that they believe that Blake committed suicide by drowning himself off the beach in Rockaway.

Blake disappeared into the surf a week after his girlfriend of 12 years, Theresa Duncan, 40, committed suicide at their Manhattan apartment. Blake reportedly found the body and was "despondent" over her death.

Blake, who was employed as a videogame artist, was a rising star in the art world. An abstract painter and video artist, his work has been exhibited at many of the galleries and museums in both New York and on the west coast.

Two eyewitnesses saw a fullydressed man walk onto the beach from the boardwalk, take off his clothing and enter the water at approximately 8:30 p.m. on July 17. After a short time, concerned for his safety, the pair called 911, bringing a response by both police and fire units, who continued to search the waters off Rockaway for two days.

Police said later that documents found in the clothing indicated that the mystery man was noted artist Jeremy Blake, sparking large volumes of comment and speculation on Internet blogs.

Sources added that a note was found along with the folded clothing that indicated that Blake might have committed suicide.

The note, police sources said, spoke about his inability to live without Duncan.

Police officers from the NYPD, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department are investigating.

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