Body burned in car leaves many unanswered questions

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Body burned in car leaves many unanswered questions

by Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

Posted on November 3, 2009 at 6:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 3 at 6:40 PM
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NEW ORLEANS -- A family from Maine believes their loved one may have died in a car burning outside of University Hospital in New Orleans last week.

One of those family members traveled from Maine to New Orleans trying to find some answers, but those answers are hard to come by.

Michal Flisiuk shot a video driving down to New Orleans last week. It's the last time he was seen.

Flisiuk's car was found outside of University Hospital at 3 a.m. last Thursday, with a body burning inside of it. Investigators said they think it's Flisiuk, but the coroner hasn’t been able to identify the body.

On the video, you can see him traveling to University Hospital. He had gone there many times since his daughter died at the hospital in 2007.

32-year-old Blanka Peridot died a day after giving birth to a stillborn boy. University Hospital officials wouldn't comment on her death.

"I just know that's the hospital where my sister died,” said artist Marcel Flisiuk, who came back to New Orleans this week to handle what he believes are his father’s burned remains.

The night before his car was found burning, Michal Flisiuk talked to Marcel, a painter who started painting in New Orleans at a young age, but moved to Maine after his sister’s death in 2007.

"I was in the process of changing galleries and I had asked him to put paintings in a new gallery in New Orleans and also to deliver this painting to the Father Seelos Shrine,” Flisiuk said.

It's a surrealistic portrayal of Father Seelos outside the Convention Center after Katrina and it'll soon have a permanent home at the Josephine Street Shrine.

Workers there helped Marcel pay for his trip back to New Orleans. He spent much time at the Shrine when he lived here.
Marcel had hoped to meet with detectives and deal with what both he and New Orleans Police said they believe are his father’s burned remains.

"They ruled out murder. That it was either accidental or suicidal and my father wouldn't have been suicidal,” Flisiuk said.

Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard said the initial autopsy shows the man in the car died of smoke inhalation, but that he’s still waiting on toxicology tests.

Minyard said there were no signs the badly-burned man was hit on the head, or evidence of gunshot wounds, for example.

Marcel can't get access to the remains because they haven't been identified yet. He said his father never went to the dentist, and therefore, there are no dental records for the coroner to compare.

“They wouldn't let me see his remains. Because I thought that would be the way I could identify him so that we could go with that and I could get his remains,” Flisiuk said.

It makes for a difficult time, with the family now doubly grief-stricken, first for Blanka, and now, for Michal.

Because the coroner has ruled the incident was not a homicide, he said the city typically doesn't conduct a DNA test to confirm the identity of the victim.

The NOPD would then close out the case as an accident or suicide with an unknown victim. But the Coroner said that process will get done in this very unusual case to allow the family to properly bury the remains back in Maine.

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By Blanka

Mother, If You Could See Me Now
Mother,
If You could see me now
Could You figure out how
My smile, my shape, my gait, my brow
Have all gone down
Did they drown?
Am I unhappy?
Or was I once
Experiencing an ounce
Of what they call
Gladness, joy, happiness, escape
These feelings I cannot drape
Over my shoulders
Like a gilded cape
Am I the image that life raped?
Am I the one left all alone?
Heart torn up, mouth agape
And if they get me
(Already did)
Can I escape
Can I get rid
Of them around me
The [...] inside me
Mother,
If you have to
Will you hide me?
Should you, though
I know I can’t
She shall walk in her own damned cant
Should I treasure, hide and gleam
Or teach and push and squeal and steam
Am I the mother or the daughter?
What lessons learned from
One or other?
Can I be one and not another?

Who Killed Blanka Peridot -Q&A