Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pastor at West Tampa church commits suicide amid financial inquiry

Father Vladimir Dziadek, 56, was found inside the offices at a church on Monday.

Father Vladimir Dziadek, 56, was found inside the offices at a church on Monday.

TAMPA — The pastor of a West Tampa Catholic church hanged himself with a leather belt this week amid an investigation the diocese was conducting into parish finances, authorities said.

Around 8 a.m. Monday, a maintenance man found Father Vladimir Dziadek at the bottom of a staircase inside the administrative offices of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 3012 W Cherry St., according to a Tampa Police Department incident log.

A belt was found tied to the banister. No note was found, the incident log said.

According to a report by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office, a Tampa police officer said the Rev. Dziadek, 56, was depressed after parishioners discovered he had embezzled about $200,000 from the church and "gambled it away."

The report said the officer noted that Rev. Dziadek had been removed from administrative duties at the church and had a hearing with church members set for Monday.

Liquor bottles and casino vouchers were found in his room, the report said, without providing elaboration.

"Our detective is in the final stages of the investigation into his death," police spokeswoman Laura McElory said Friday.

Frank Murphy, a spokesman for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, said the diocese finance office was conducting an investigation involving the church. The investigation should be complete by Monday, he said.

Murphy said the investigation is into an issue Bishop Robert N. Lynch told the diocese "needed to be examined quickly."

Murphy said the Rev. Dziadek had a history of being treated for depression.

Born in Poland, he was a priest for 32 years, and part of the diocese for 12 years. He spoke Spanish, and spent some time at Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Gulfport before coming to St. Joseph in 2011.

"He was very well-received within the parish," Murphy said. "He was important and dear to the Hispanic community."

The Rev. Dziadek was preceded at St. Joseph by Pastor Felix Sanchez, who died in 2012 while on vacation. Church members represent nearly 20 nationalities, mostly Hispanic, Sanchez said in 2003.

Services for the Rev. Dziadek will be held at the church. Visitation will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Monday. The Rev. Dziadek will be buried in Barin, Poland.

Gonzalez Funeral Home of Tampa is handling the arrangements.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan and news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Keeley Sheehan can be reached at

Pastor at West Tampa church commits suicide amid financial inquiry 05/16/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2014 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance


    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  2. Pope Francis presents Trump with a 'politically loaded gift': His encyclical on climate change

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]
  3. Tampa police say 41-year-old man shot and killed by ex-boss, investigation ongoing


    TAMPA — A 41-year-old man was shot and killed by his former boss Wednesday morning outside the West Tampa auto body shop where they once worked together, according to Tampa police.

  4. Father and brother of alleged bomber detained in Libya


    The father and younger brother of the man who British police say bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester have been detained in Libya, where anti-terror authorities said the brother confessed to knowing "all the details" of the attack plot.

    Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group. Abedi is the brother of Salman Abedi, who has been identified as the man behind the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. [Ahmed Bin Salman, Special Deterrent Force via AP]
  5. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows


    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]