A popular Florida pastor, who was under investigation for embezzling $200,000 from his Tampa church, was found dead in an apparent suicide last week.
Rev. Vladimir Dziadek, 56, was found at the bottom of staircase at St. Joseph Catholic Church Monday, according to the Tampa Police Department. He had hung himself with a belt tied to a bannister, the New York Daily News reported.
Dziadek, who had been removed from his church duties, was under investigation for embezzling church funds to fuel a gambling habit. He was scheduled to appear at a church hearing Monday.
“I know it will be a struggle for the parish because they loved him,” said Frank Murphy, a spokesman for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, who noted that Dziadek had a history of depression.
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Born in Poland, Dziadek worked at St. Joseph’s since 2011.
“People are concerned, and we want to get out all the facts before we say anything,” Murphy added.
The diocese still plans to complete its investigation into the church's finances.
“The parish deserves an answer,” Murphy said. “We need to come up with that, but we don't have all the facts yet.”