A senior officer of a failed subprime mortgage company apparently jumped from the Delaware Memorial Bridge yesterday, less than an hour after police discovered his wife dead in their Evesham Township home, authorities said.
Walter Buczynski, 59, was executive vice president of Fieldstone Mortgage Co., which until 2006 was one of the biggest subprime lenders in the nation.
Marci Buczynski, 37, was found at noon in the bedroom of the couple's home on Atlanta Drive after a man called Evesham police and asked them to check on her well-being, said Robert Bernardi, the Burlington County prosecutor. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Twenty minutes later, police received a 911 call reporting that a man had stopped his blue Acura SUV on the bridge and leaped into the icy Delaware River.
Police said that man was Buczynski. State police marine units last night continued to comb the river for a body, authorities said.
A motive for the apparent murder-suicide was unclear, Bernardi said.
Investigators declined to offer any information about how Marci Buczynski died. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow, said Jack Smith, spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office.
The couple's two sons, ages 8 and 15, were not at home at the time of her death, Smith said. They were placed in the care of relatives.
Residents along Atlanta Drive, a cul-de-sac dotted with well-spaced homes, expressed shock on learning both Buczynskis had died.
"They were great, friendly people who invited everybody to their home for wonderful Halloween parties," said a next-door neighbor who asked not to be identified by name. "Their two boys played in my yard all the time."
A former Fieldstone official said Walter Buczynski was devoted to his wife and children, and commuted four hours each day to the company's headquarters near Baltimore so his family would not have to move.
"He was a very sweet man, well regarded in the mortgage world, and an accomplished helicopter pilot, too," said Robert G. Partlow, Fieldstone's former chief financial officer.
Fieldstone once employed more than 1,000 people and made $5.5 billion in adjustable rate mortgage loans. The company collapsed into bankruptcy last year after large numbers of borrowers defaulted, according to the Baltimore Sun. The company laid off most of its workers in August and now has fewer than 20.
On Tuesday, the company filed a petition in bankruptcy court to pay $1 million in bonuses to Buczynski, two other senior officers, and Fieldstone's remaining workers so that the company could wind down its affairs and shutter the business.