2009-07-31 / Front Page

Questions In Death Of Brooklyn Sculptor

By Howard Schwach

A Brooklyn sculptor who may or may not have been working on his boat at the Gateway Marina during the heavy storms on Sunday night was found dead on a nearby beach on Monday morning, National Park Service officials say.

Karol was reportedly at the Gateway Marina (left center of the Google map) and his body was found on the beach just north of the marina. It is not known how his body got in the water and his cause of death.
The sculptor, identified as Polish-born Mieczyslaw Partyka Karol, 51, was reported missing on Sunday night by his wife. Karol had reportedly called his wife to tell her that he was working on the boat, when cell service was lost. When his wife, Izabella, could not reestablish a connection, she went to the marina, located on Flatbush Avenue, just north of the Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge, to search for him.

She could not find him and notified authorities.

And, while published stories and his wife's testimony said that Karol was working on his boat, Brian Feeney, a spokesperson for Gateway National Recreation Area, where the marina is located, told The Wave that Karol's boat was in drydock at the time of his death.

"Karol was found by two Triborough Bridge and Tunnel (TBTA) police officers who were on patrol on the shoreline. Since he had definitely not put his boat in the water this year, we haven't yet determined how he got into the water."

Karol was most famous for his statue of Pope John Paul II, which stands outside a church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Investigators told reporters that they suspect that Karol, who had a heart condition, either went into cardiac arrest during the storm or fell into the water and drowned.

His body was recovered on a public beach in the Rockaway Inlet, near the marina.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death was conducted on Tuesday afternoon, but was inconclusive, according to a spokesperson for the city's medical examiner's office.

Further tests will be done next week to determine the cause of death, officials say.

Karol's wife told reporters for the Daily News that he had been working on busts of his two daughters, Julia, 18, and Taria, 13.

"He finished the bust of the older girl, but had not completed the work for his younger daughter's bust.

"Taria isn't finished," his wife said. "Now, he will never finish it."

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