Missing Halesite Artist, 92, Found Alive After Falling Into Ditch For Days

By Danny Schrafel



Laszlo “Leslie” Tar” of Halesite, who had been missing since Saturday, is on the mend at Huntington Hospital after being found by police, his son said Thursday.

 “It’s an amazing, rejoicing day today,” said Jay Tar, his overjoyed son.

The elder Tar, an accomplished painter who has been credited with thousands of artistic works and has been painting since the late 1920s, was found near Huntington Hospital early Thursday, Aug. 14, his son explained.

A day earlier, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, the Tar family headed east after getting a lead in Patchogue. Back home, the Tar family scoured Huntington at 5 a.m., posting signs after “a sighting” had been reported.

Five hours later, they received the call they had waited nearly a week for.

Tar said that a detective called him at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to report that his father had been found. According to his son, he fell into a ditch, “kind of like a ravine,” near Huntington Hospital’s new parking lot on the Park Avenue side. Tar had last been seen leaving his Halesite address at 4:48 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8 en route to Heckscher Park on foot, according to his family.

“From the looks of it, he was there all the period of time,” his son said. “He was incredibly dirty, clothes totally black, shaking. Amazingly, he’s OK.”

If he was indeed in that ravine the whole time, Laszlo Tar survived the historic deluge which doused the area with multiple inches of rain, causing pockets of flash flooding across Long Island.

When he was discovered, his body temperature was an alarmingly low 91 degrees, his son said, but “all his vitals were incredible.”

Jay Tar said Thursday that his father will be in Huntington Hospital “for a couple of days.”

“Somehow, he survived. We don’t know how,” Tar said. “Here we are on the sixth day… and thank God he’s alive. I’m so happy. I don’t know what to say.”