Juneau man drowns off dock near Prince of Wales

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2001

A Juneau man drowned Monday night at Point Baker near the north end of Prince of Wales Island. He was last seen riding his bike back and forth on a dock, state troopers said.

Stephen P. Sincic, 46, son of the late Juneau photographer Paul Sincic, was found Tuesday around 9:40 a.m. in a kelp bed on a Point Baker beach, said trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson.

"It's very difficult to say how he fell in and whether it was off the dock. We found him fairly close to the dock," said trooper Sgt. Lonny Piscoya. "We don't have any witnesses so some questions can't be answered at this point."

Troopers said Sincic's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy. So far no foul play is suspected but the investigation is still open, Piscoya said.

Trooper Lt. Steve Garrett said Sincic was staying on a boat with friends from Juneau when they noticed he had left the boat, taking his bicycle with him. According to a trooper press release, nearby residents saw Sincic riding his bike up and down the dock in the dark. Later two other residents heard someone yelling what sounded like "help" and went out to investigate, Garrett said. The residents called out to the man but heard no response, he said.

"They looked for just over an hour," Piscoya said. "They did more than we would certainly expect. It was pretty noble of them to give that kind of effort."

Piscoya said a man passing by the next morning discovered Sincic's body. His bike was discovered parked near a resident's house, Piscoya said.

Sincic's brother Jeff Sincic of Seattle said he heard the news of his brother's death Tuesday night. He said he hadn't heard the details of the case but that it wouldn't be unusual for his brother to ride his bike at night.

"That's a small island and that's how you get around," he said. "He loved the out of doors and so that doesn't surprise me at all."

Jeff Sincic said he hadn't seen his brother, who worked in the fishing industry, much since their father's death more than a year ago. But he said he will enjoy memories of downhill ski trips with his brother as well as mining and fishing.

"His smile. I'll always remember his smile," he said. "He always had a nice smile and a kind word for everyone. ... I'm sure there's something more I want to say, but I'm just at a loss right now."

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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