Police confirmed that the man found dead in East Rockaway Inlet on Friday has been identified as Stanislaw Nawrocki of Ridgewood, Queens.
An autopsy will be done to determine how Nawrocki, 57, died, police said. Prosecutors will then determine whether to bring more serious charges against Janusz Sowa, 54, the man who was on the boat with Nawrocki and who reported him missing, saying he fell off the back of the boat, police said.
Sowa, who is homeless, was charged Friday with boating while intoxicated. He registered a 0.17 percent blood-alcohol content several hours after the incident, more than twice the legal limit, according to court papers.
Nawrocki owned Miro Inc. Wines and Liquors on Forest Avenue with his wife, Miroslawa Staskiewicz, 65, according to property records. Workers at a nearby store who knew Nawrocki said he was friendly with a group of transients who frequent the benches near the Forest Avenue train station.
"He was quiet, all about his business," said Semil Gabbar, 21, who works at a convenience store a few doors down. At the liquor store, his widow sobbed behind the counter as she and customers talked about her husband, in Polish.
"I'm OK," she said. "I have to be OK."
Court papers say Sowa told police he had been drinking beer at the train station when his friend Nawrocki, who was also drinking a beer, came by and asked him to go fishing. They drove to the Crows Nest Marina in Oceanside, stopping on the way to buy vodka, Sowa told police. At some point, Sowa told police, a big wave rocked the boat and Nawrocki fell overboard.
At his arraignment Sowa pleaded not guilty. He's jailed on $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash.
With Matthew Chayes