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Sources: Man Who Jumped Off Tarentum Bridge Was Suspect In House Explosion

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

kim-gable-web Kym Gable
Kym Gable joined the KDKA News Team in 2006 as a part-time reporter....
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TARENTUM (KDKA) — There are new details on a man who leaped to his death from the Tarentum Bridge into the Allegheny River Thursday night.

Authorities now have confirmation on Michael Swiklinkski’s identity.

Witnesses say they saw a man jump from the bridge Thursday evening. But it wasn’t until Friday evening that Swiklinkski’s body was located and recovered.

Sources say he was a suspect in a Harrison Township house explosion earlier this week that injured his ex-girlfriend.

Investigator started making the connection as soon as they found Swiklinkski’s car on the Tarentum Bridge. His fatal plunge into the Allegheny River just a day after his former girlfriend’s house went up in flames.

Tina Slomkoski is in critical condition. She was also in the hospital last month after Swiklinkski, 43, allegedly punched and bit her. She filed for a PFA, and police charged him with assault.

Relatives from both families were at the marina Friday for the recovery effort.

“We had a good target area; we knew where he went in, just a matter of getting to him and getting him out,” said Chief Rich Heuser, of Eureka Fire and Rescue.

“The difficulties we ran into today was the swift current on the upper levels of the river. Once we got down to the bottom, it was fairly calm,” added Darrick Gerano, the director of Murrysville Rescue 1. “The visibility wasn’t too bad today; it was about two to three feet.”

Crews retrieved the body at about 6 p.m., nearly 24 hours after witnesses saw him jump.

“He went belly first in the water and went right under, never came back up again,” said one witness.

“Some of the witnesses reported as he was falling, they saw a string was trailing him, like a rope, and other witnesses had reported possibly him having some sort of weight,” said Sgt. Mark Glogowski, of Tarentum Police.

But sources at the scene say they found no evidence of any binding or weight.

The medical examiner now has Swiklinkski’s body.

Meanwhile, the fire marshal continues to investigate the Wednesday blaze that injured his ex-girlfriend.

Harrison Police have to wait for the full report from the fire marshal’s office, but sources tell KDKA that he was considered a suspect.

RELATED LINKS:
Harrison Twp. House Explodes, Woman Rushed To Hospital (7/30/14)
Divers Find Body Of Man Possibly Connected To House Explosion (8/1/14)
More Reports by Kym Gable

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