The NYPD has confirmed that a body found earlier this week in waters at Staten Island’s Clove Lakes Park is Dr. Tamara Saukin, who had been missing since November 18.
Saukin, 44, reportedly went for a walk in the park early that Wednesday morning with her mother. According to local reports, her mother told police that Saukin had opted to stay and continue walking after her mother decided to return to her car. Police have not yet released any further details about the circumstances of Saukin’s disappearance. Law enforcement sources said prior to the discovery of Saukin’s body that investigators had been searching for her daily.
A NYPD spokesperson said on Friday that a cause of death was pending a completed medical examination. Since early in the investigation, authorities have said there is no evidence of foul play.
Saukin, a family practitioner, closed her private practice in October. Her Staten Island office sent a letter to patients explaining that Saukin was taking a temporary leave from practicing medicine, effective immediately. In a comment on a Facebook post, Saukin wrote that the temporary leave was due to “family issues.” Saukin also voluntarily surrendered her license. This does not appear to have been the result of any disciplinary action.
According to court records obtained by CrimeOnline, Saukin was arrested on multiple counts of impaired driving in a single incident in May 2020. She was released on recognizance the day after her arrest.
Saukin’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Family members have not been reachable by phone and have not returned messages.
As reported by SILive.com, Saukin was in a serious car accident in 2015. According to the report, her car had rolled from her driveway one morning in early August of that year, and she ran after it to try and stop the vehicle. The car reportedly ran over her leg, breaking it so severely that bone punctured the skin, a witness said.
CrimeOnline spoke to three former patients of Dr. Saukin’s, two who last saw her in 2019 and another who was a patient until 2017.
That former patient, Anthony Curatola, said he had a consistently positive experience with Saukin in the three or four years that she treated him, echoing the majority of online reviews of Saukin’s practice.
Curotala said that Saukin was always very personable and “knew what she was doing. She was always very thorough.”
The former patient remembered that Saukin had been injured in the car accident, but did not recall her speaking much about it.
“She never seemed distressed,” Curotala said. “She was always the consummate professional.”
Jordon Rosen said she visited Saukin’s office on the recommendation of a friend, sometime between October and December of 2019. Rosen also said that Saukin was pleasant and affable, but that she appeared hurt: The doctor was limping, she said, and appeared to have diffuse bruising on her face.
“The second she walked in I knew something was wrong,” Rosen said. When the patient asked Saukin if she was okay, the doctor said something about having been in a car accident, Rosen recalled.
Rosen also claimed that Saukin was slurring her words, and that a prescription she wrote was illegible.
“I was horrified to see the condition she was in, practicing medicine,” Rosen wrote in a message, while noting in a subsequent phone conversation that the doctor was warm and personable, and that none of the medical staff at the office seemed to be alarmed by her condition.
Another former patient, who asked that her name not be used, also said that Saukin appeared to have slurred speech last fall, and seemed to be more distracted than during the patient’s earlier visits in the spring. The patient said Saukin had told her the story of her injury on one of her first visits to the office, even showing her the scar on her leg.
The patient last saw Saukin in September 2019, and said Saukin did not have any obvious, recent physical injuries.
Overall, the patient was satisfied with the treatment Saukin provided.
“She seemed to really put her whole heart into helping me,” the patient wrote in an email.
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