The Rev. Paul Wancura hadn’t shown up to preach at a church on Long Island, so a fellow minister went to his home to check on him, Newsday reported.
Wancura’s cries led Rev. Charles McCarron to the bedroom in his Shelter Island home on March 19, the newspaper said. McCarron found the 87-year-old man lying between his bed and a wall, his hands tied up with zip ties.
The retired Episcopal priest was attacked during a home invasion days earlier, authorities said. He’d been left bound for at least two days, according to the Shelter Island Reporter.
Wancura tried to reach a medical alert system several times, but couldn’t get to it because of his restraints, which had caused his arm to bleed, ABC 7 reported.
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McCarron told Newsday that Wancura was in “bad shape” when he found him and was suffering from dehydration. Wancura spent almost a month in the intensive care unit at a hospital before dying of his injuries last Monday, Suffolk County police said, Patch reported.
The wounds came from being tied up, not from the attack, ABC 7 said. Wancura's arm had to be amputated, CBS 2 reported. The news station says he died from sepsis, which can occur when the body is trying to fight an infection.
Family and friends gathered Tuesday at Wancura’s funeral, ABC 7 reported. He was buried in a cemetery adjacent to his church, the news station said.
“I feel like I lost a beloved uncle,” McCarron told Newsday. Kevin Lockerbie, a friend of Wancura’s called the attack “evil personified.”
“And if this person has any conscience at all, he ought to turn himself in,” Lockerbie told CBS 2.
Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron described Shelter Island as an “extremely safe area.” He added that authorities don’t believe the attack was random, FOX News reported.
"We believe he was specifically targeted,” Cameron said, reported Patch.
A resident told Newsday that it’s particularly unusual for the break-in to have happened in March.
“Nothing like this happens in winter. This is the off-season. There’s not a lot of people around,” said Zach Renault. “It’s a small town and everybody knows each other.”
Authorities say an expensive watch was stolen during the burglary. No arrests have been made, and authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest, ABC 7 reported.
Meanwhile, a community grapples with the death of the “lovable” minister who preached at Caroline Church of Brookhaven in Setauket for more than two decades, according to Newsday.
"He was religious while witty, bright, he was one of a kind," church spokesman Michael Russell told ABC 7. "It's such an incredible loss for somebody to die that way.”