After a desperate week-long search, the body of a Bronx girl who fell into the Niagara River during a day-trip with a Polish Catholic summer camp, was finally discovered.
According to police, Dr. James Wytosh, of the Erie County Medical Examiner Office, the body discovered by kayakers on Saturday, August 23, has been positively identified as 12-year-old Magdalena Marta Lubowska.
Lubowska slipped off a rock into rapids near Niagara Falls on August 13. She had been on vacation at Whirlpool State Park.
Her parents, Mariusz and Katarzyna Lubowska, had gathered with 120 family members, friends and well-wishers, at the location the previous Wednesday to pray and to mourn her loss during a vigil.
It has been reported that the Lubowska family is calling for a criminal investigation, citing that their daughter was terrified of water, and that explanations given to police that she was sitting on a steep rock to dip her feet into the water before she fell was inconsistent with Magdalena’s behavior.
But the circumstances around her death took a backseat to an outpouring of emotion by the family, as they dealt with the loss. During the vigil, her aunt, Marta, was also quoted as saying that her niece was “a great little girl with a very big heart” who loved her school and family.
Lubowska, who resided in Kingsbridge, had been set to enter the sixth-grade at P.S. 360 this September.
“We are going to plan memorial activities with the sixth grade class when they return to school,” said Nancy Rodriquez-Lewis, principal of P.S. 360. “She had come a long way in her studies in a short period of time. Obviously, this is a great tragedy, and she will be missed by both the staff and the students.”
Lubowska had been identified through medical and dental records, and according to the Niagara County Coroner, was found with jewelry matching items worn by the young Bronxite before her tragic fall.
Lubowska was a Polish immigrant, who friends say came to American just three years ago, and picked up English very quickly.
“She didn’t know English very well, but by the end of her first year at P.S. 360, she was speaking and reading,” noted parent Norma Laracuente.
Nadine Laracuente, a classmate of Lubowska, said it would be hard not seeing her classmate with her as she entered a new school year.
“We were together since the forth grade,” Nadine Laracuente noted. “She was really cheerful and funny – a smart and happy kid. I will miss her.”
Lubowska was waked at Farenga Brothers Funeral Home and buried after a funeral mass on Saturday, August 31.
©2008 Community News Group