Like many of the young people who move to Hoboken in their twenties, Jarzyk worked for a financial institution, liked to hang out with friends at the local restaurants and bars, and tended to jog along the waterfront.
On Saturday night, March 29, he spent time with friends at the West Five Supper Club in western Hoboken. The club is near Jarzyk's apartment on the west side of town -- both are a mile west of the waterfront, near the woody Palisades hills leading up to Union City and Jersey City Heights. Around 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, Jarzyk left the club and went two blocks to his apartment.
A neighbor said Jarzyk was seen on the fire escape trying to get in, possibly locked out. A friend said on an internet websleuthing message board that he sometimes went in and out through the fire escape.
The operating theory is that Jarzyk, who was training for a half marathon, changed into running clothes to go for a run on that rainy night. He headed the mile east, approximately 13 blocks, to the Hoboken waterfront.
He sent a text to his girlfriend around 1:43 a.m. Then he was never heard from again.
The "Find Andrew Jarzyk" Facebook page is located here. On the page, Jarzyk's girlfriend said that nine billboards have been installed in Jersey City to help find him. The family would like to post more.
Seen on videotape
Hundreds of friends and relatives have said Jarzyk was a great friend and kind person. No one has said a bad word. And no one seems to have an idea of where he is.
While the city's security cameras along the waterfront have not worked in four years, friends were able to get restaurants along the waterfront to look at their videos. And this yielded some results.
Family identified Jarzyk running in reflective clothing around 2:09 a.m. southward along the waterfront, a mile from his apartment and a popular route for runners. He was first seen jogging southbound past Pier C Park around 2:09 a.m., and then down to Pier A Park three blocks away, near the train terminal.
It is unknown whether he jogged onto the pier or past it, but there is no video of him continuing past Pier A.
The police launched a waterfront search in that area after he went missing, and looked in the water for several days but found nothing. Meanwhile, three bodies of people who have jumped into the river in various incidents in the last few weeks have surfaced within 24 hours of disappearing (see related links below this article). The question remains: Where is Andrew Jarzyk?
Police said in a Reporter story last week (see linked stories under this article) that they have largely focused their search on the river.
As past cases have shown, the currents of the Hudson River are notoriously strong in that area, and it is difficult to survive them once in the water.
If Jarzyk jogged onto the jogging path around the perimeter of Pier A, it is unlikely he could have accidentally slipped into the water. As this video of a jog around Pier A, made by the Reporter, shows, the fence is complete all the way around the pier. If he went over the fence, it would not be because of a simple slide while running.
If he didn't disappear from the pier, and continued southbound with his run, he could have run through the Hoboken train/ferry station and along the waterfront walkway. The walkway continues into the Newport section of Jersey City, across from lower Manhattan. Or, he could have headed back toward the west side of town, back toward home.
On the aforementioned internet message board, Websleuths, speculation has ranged from perhaps being hit by a drunk driver, or ending up in a port-a-potty.
There are a few construction sites at the waterfront, but not very many desolate areas left there where someone would go undetected. The mile-square city is largely built up around the waterfront.
The bars in Hoboken close their doors at 2 a.m., although patrons already inside may stay until 3 a.m. Thus, it would not be unusual for people to be outside in that area at that time of morning, although the rain may have kept some away.
The family is still hoping someone has a clue to what happened that morning.
In the last ten years, the Reporter has profiled several local missing persons cases. The results may provide some insight.
--In a case that received much publicity over the years, a Jersey City native, Patricia Viola, disappeared in 2001 while she was living in Bogota, N.J. with her family, including two children. It was the day before Valentine's Day and she had presents waiting. It seemed like an ordinary day. In the morning she did some volunteer work at a local school. The, she went home. That afternoon, she called her mother and she set the alarm to her house. She left behind her epilepsy medication, identification, and keys. Some of her remains were found on Rockaway Beach on the New York side in 2002, but she was only positively identified via DNA last year, 12 years after she had gone missing. Due to technology, she had not been identified before, and her family always held out hope. The family still doesn't know how or why she ended up in the river; however, her case did result in positive changes to how DNA is dealt with for missing persons. You can read more here.
--Last March, a 34-year-old Hoboken restaurant worker who lived in North Bergen disappeared. His family said he had been talking about someday going to Mexico. Three weeks later, he was found deceased in the aforementioned Union City woods up the hill from Hoboken, with a noose around his neck, tied to a tree. Police ruled out foul play.
--In August of 2011, a new Jersey City mom and popular waitress, Amanda "Randy" Lehrer, disappeared after a fight with her husband. Her husband called her workplace and said she would not be in for a while. Weeks later, investigators located her body in the basement of the couple's apartment building, encased in concrete in a drum. Husband Steven Acuna is serving a 22-year sentence for her strangling. Their baby daughter was unharmed and was in the custody of relatives.
--In December of 2011, we profiled Ian Burnett, a young man who was attending college in Virginia. He was visiting friends in New York City in late December when he disappeared. He had been suicidal in the past. He was profiled in our Jersey City Reporter newspaper because he had relatives in Jersey City who were involved in the search. To this day, no new clues have been made public, except that he had apparently used a Metrocard the afternoon of his disappearance at the 145th Street subway station in New York, north of where he had been staying. To help, see the Find Ian Burnett web page.
--There was a report of a missing teen girl in North Bergen last year, but she was found safe.
Two weeks ago, a Hoboken woman who read about Jarzyk's case emailed the Hoboken Reporter to say that in 1980, a local man in his twenties was fishing off of a pier on the south waterfront. He fell into the river, as did his friend who tried to save him. The bodies of both men were found weeks later near the Verrazano Bridge.
The woman wrote, "The catch trap by the bridge catches everything that washes past by the river. I still hope they find this young man alive."
The next step
Police have said they do not believe Jarzyk's case is related to a case of a man who was found clinging to a pylon in the river off Pier C a month earlier around 2 a.m. on a Sunday (see last week's related story from the Hoboken Reporter ).
A person posting on Websleuths today (Wednesday) said that the family will be posting billboards around the state, and that channel 9 will do a story.
The family held a search around the pier area three weeks ago for clues.
Jarzyk is described as a 27 year old white male, approximately 6 feet 1 inch in height and weighing 160 lbs. He has thinning, dirty blond hair, blue eyes and a tattoo of a cross on his rib area with the initials "SJLJBJ". Other know identifiable marks include a scar on his left cheek of his face and a sizable scar on his shoulder.
Anyone with information regarding Andrew Jarzyk should contact the Hoboken Police Department immediately at 201-420-2100 (main line) or 201-420-2131 (police desk)
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