Father hurls son, 3, to death and then kills himself in plunge from Manhattan tower block

As police try to piece together what led to shocking fall, details emerge that man was supposed to hand over his baby to estranged wife an hour later

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 11:28am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 11:27pm

Certain things were immediately clear from the bodies that lay motionless on a pair of Manhattan rooftops: A man had plunged from the adjacent high-rise. So had a little boy.

Something terrible had happened, though for hours it was not clear exactly what.

The man, who was 35, was killed immediately by the fall, while his three-year-old son was taken a block away to New York's Roosevelt Hospital in critical condition and died shortly after on Sunday.

Authorities said they received an emergency call reporting two jumpers from the 52-storey building on the Upper West Side around noon on Sunday. Officers responding to the scene found the 35-year-old man and the boy on the rooftops of two separate buildings.

The father and son did not appear to live in South Park Tower, the building from which they fell.

Luis Ortiz told the New York Post that he was at the hospital when paramedics rushed the three-year-old there and that they were pumping his chest and working on him.

“You could tell he was slipping away. They said the father was up there, but they didn’t bring anyone else in. It was just heartbreaking. I have two kids of my own. They tried to do the best they could,” Ortiz told the newspaper.

Though many details remained under investigation, New York detectives began piecing together a picture of the events leading up to their deaths and what appeared to be a sinister crime.

The man, identified by the police as Dmitriy Kanarikov, had recently separated from his wife and was sharing custody of their young son, Kirill, said John McCarthy, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman.

She had dropped the boy off with Kanarikov on Sunday and was due to pick him up at 1pm at the 17th Precinct station house, a neutral location picked by the couple, McCarthy said.

They did not show up.

Instead, around 12pm, surveillance video viewed by detectives showed father and son walking into the building at 124 West 60th Street. Witnesses described to the police seeing a body falling past their apartments from a high floor.

It was not clear what drew the man, who lived in Brooklyn, to the building, though the police believed he had a friend who may have lived there. Property records showed Kanarikov, along with a person named Svetlana Kanarikov, purchased a home in Brooklyn in January.

Officers and detectives moved around the tiered tower throughout the afternoon, scouring the rooftop deck. An officer on the roof described it as a crime scene but did not elabourate.

Police investigating the deaths left the building in the mid-afternoon to photograph a gray Lexus RX350 parked nearby.

My wife and I have said, [the rooftop] is so – not to say, dangerous – but open
Jim Millman, resident

Residents said the roof was not locked, meaning anyone who knew the way there could gain access. Around the edge is a low wall.

“When you’re up on that roof, it’s an incredible panorama,” said one resident, Jim Millman, 62. “My wife and I have said, it is so – not to say, dangerous – but open.”

Manoj Notani, 36, who was leaving the building with his infant daughter, expressed shock at the deaths. The windows in the apartments have a bracket that prevents residents from opening them more than several inches, he said, though that could be removed.

“It’s hard to believe when it happens in your own building,” he said.

The deaths recalled the suicide in March of a 44-year-old woman carrying her infant son. In that case, the woman left a note behind in her eighth-floor apartment before jumping to her death; her 10-month-old son survived.