Feedback: Farbotnik's 5 Children Are Returned To Him


A Massena man, whose wife's death police describe as "unusual", had his five children returned to him Wednesday afternoon.

James Farbotnik appeared in St. Lawrence County Family Court for a 20 minute hearing.

"I am very happy to have my children back," he said.

The Department of Social Services Family Court petition initially described Farbotnik as "a suspect" in his wife's death and that returning the children to him would be contrary to their best interests.

"The judge found that the children were not in imminent risk based on...what's known about the investigation," said attorney David Willard.

Farbartnik said the children were taken into foster care early Monday morning, shortly after his 43 year old wife, Vinira, was found dead in a pond on the family's property on Route 37C.

Police questioned Farbotnik for eight hours and released, he said.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday afternoon on Vinira.

Police said, "The cause and manner of death are pending."

James Farbotnik said the coroner told him Vinira had no injuries and no bruising; toxicology results were pending.

The couple had five children together, ages 7, 9, 11, 12 and 14.

While James Farbotnik has not been charged in connection with his wife's death, he has not been officially ruled out as a suspect either.

He has put forward several conspiracy theories including animal mutilations.

However, state police remain tight-lipped about the direction of their investigation.
Crime scene investigators spent another day looking for clues that might explain whether Vinira died at the hands of someone else, accidentally by capsizing a canoe and drowning, or by suicide. 
7 News has learned that computers have been seized from the Farbotnik home and will be analyzed to see whether online conversations the victim had with family members in her native country of Russia could now shed some light on her death.

Investigators also spent some time inside Farbotnik's computer store in downtown Massena.

But one veteran investigator said after all is said and done, we may never know for sure what exactly did happen to Vinira Farbotnik.    

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Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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