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Farbotnik found dead at his residence

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MASSENA - A 57-year-old Massena businessman suffered an apparent medical emergency early this morning and died, according to Massena-based state police.

Sr. Investigator Judy Trimboli, state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Massena, said troopers responded to a 911 call at 4:58 a.m. Tuesday at the James A. Farbotnik residence, 355 state Route 37C, Massena. Mr. Farbotnik operated a computer repair store in downtown Massena.

St. Lawrence County Coroner June Wood said Tuesday night that an autopsy showed Mr. Farbotnik died of natural causes.

“We ruled it natural causes from heart disease,” she said.

Mr. Farbotnik had previously told the Courier-Observer he had serious heart issues.

Mr. Farbotnik’s wife, Vinira Z. Farbotnik, 43, had been found dead in a pond on the couple’s property in the early morning hours of Memorial Day 2011. The investigation into her death was ongoing at the time of Mr. Farbotnik’s death.

Mr. Farbotnik had called 911 at approximately 1:10 a.m. May 31, 2011 to report he discovered his wife unresponsive near their family pond. Mrs. Farbotnik’s body was located several hundred yards from her residence behind a horse pasture.

The Massena businessman, owner of Cyberworld USA, said they day after is wife’s body had been found that he had no idea how his wife Vinira died on their Massena property early the previous morning.

But Mr. Farbotnik had said he said he did have a lot of enemies, and one of those enemies may have played a role in his wife’s death.

Mr. Farbotnik spoke at length that day, detailing his recollection of the moments leading up to early Monday when he said he discovered his wife submerged in three feet of water in the family pond with a canoe on top of her.

St. Lawrence County Coroner James M. Sienkiewcyz had said an autopsy found no signs of any physical trauma to Mrs. Farbotnik.

Mr. Farbotnik had said he was questioned extensively by state police in the hours after his wife was found about any possible involvement he might have had in his wife’s death. He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“I have done nothing wrong. My wife is dead and my children have done nothing wrong,” he said the day after his wife’s death. “I’m praying to God this was a terrible tragedy.”

He said he and his 12-year-old son went to look around the property for his wife when they couldn’t find in the house that night. He said he checked the barn near the back of his property with his son and walked by the family pond.

“As we walked by the pond, I shined (the flashlight) toward the pond to see in that direction, and I see the canoe about 10 feet outside of the water and it’s upside down,” he said.

“All you saw was her hand sticking out from underneath the canoe. I ran as fast as I could and I grabbed her hand, I started pulling her. My son, Neil, he grabbed the other hand, the left hand.”

Mr. Farbotnik said his son called 911 as soon as they pulled the canoe and Mrs. Farbotnik to shore. St. Lawrence County Emergency Services registered the call at 1:10 a.m.

He said it was not uncommon for his wife to be walking around their property late at night.“They interrogated me for a good 8 to 10 hours, trying to say ‘Did I have anything to do with it?’ Of course I didn’t. I just lost my wife and my best friend ... I just lost everything,” he said at the time.

The couple have five children - ranging in age from high school to elementary school students. Ms. Trimboli said state police are working with the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services for the short-term placement of the five children, and an animal control officer has responded to the Farbotnik property to address the plethora of animals on the property, including several miniature horses.

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