Missing City Police Officer’s Body Is Found in Long Island Sound

The search for a missing New York City police officer who disappeared during a father-and-son kayaking trip on Friday ended a day later with the recovery of the officer’s body, the authorities said.

The officer, Patrick Luca, 41, was assigned to the department’s recruitment section at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan.

Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said that Officer Luca’s police identification as well as his off-duty weapon, a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol, was found on the body when a recreational boater discovered it in Long Island Sound near the mouth of the Nissequogue River.

Officer Luca’s remains were taken to a Coast Guard station in Eatons Neck, N.Y., before being turned over to Suffolk County authorities, said Erik Swanson, a Coast Guard spokesman.

Officer Luca, who had been on the force nearly 21 years, apparently capsized in his inflatable kayak after he set out with his 5-year-old son, Caden, on Friday afternoon from a dock in Kings Park, N.Y., near the Nissequogue River.

The two left about 1:30 p.m., according to a statement from Richard Dormer, the Suffolk County police commissioner. Roughly 75 minutes later, the boy was spotted alone and floating in Smithtown Bay, near the mouth of the river, kept afloat by his life jacket, Mr. Dormer said.

Some boaters pulled Caden from the water, but they did not see his father, the police said. The boy did not sustain any serious physical injuries and was returned to his mother, the police said. As search teams from several agencies responded to the location, they found the inflatable kayak, at about 4:15 p.m., the authorities said.

In a statement issued Saturday morning, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly described the rescuers’ efforts to find the officer. He said a four-member scuba team from the Police Department helped in the search, focusing on an area about 50 miles east of Manhattan.

But less than two hours later, Mr. Kelly issued a second statement, this time disclosing news that was rippling through the ranks: Officer Luca’s body had been recovered.

“On behalf of the New York City Police Department, I extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Luca, and our appreciation to the Suffolk County police for their support,” Mr. Kelly said.

The officer’s body was discovered about a half-mile off the coast, and about a mile west of where the unoccupied kayak was found, “right there at the mouth of the river,” Mr. Swanson of the Coast Guard said.

The body was not wearing a life vest, another official said.

Mr. Browne said that officers from a Suffolk police harbor unit responded with the New York City police officers on board its boat. He said that the city officers, “pulled Officer Luca’s body onto the launch.”
A search continued through the night and into Saturday, said Mark E. Averill, who plans search and rescue strategy for the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard used an 87-foot cutter, the Sailfish, as well smaller boats from the station in Eaton’s Neck and a helicopter, said Julie Kee, a Coast Guard member who is based at a station in New Haven, Conn.

The search grid, she said, consisted of about 25 square nautical miles in coastal waters, where the river spills into Long Island Sound.

Officer Luca and his wife, Stephanie, also had a 22-month-old daughter, Brea, according to the police.

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