Laid out in front of her on a kitchen table in her Queens apartment was a copy of her brother's death certificate: "Construction worker … Body found on sidewalk …. Front of 199 Decatur Street … Gunshot wound to the chest."
Police say they have taken the case seriously, but with no witnesses and no clear motive, they know little more about the slaying today.
Siwiak, born in Krakow, came to the United States last year with dreams of building a new life, Lucyna said. Laid off from his railroad inspector job in Poland, he joined his sister in Queens. He worked odd jobs to send money home to his wife, a high school biology teacher, and their two children.
"He had many, many plans in life," Lucyna said. "He wanted to build a new house in Poland. He wanted to send his daughter to a good university."
Siwiak supplemented English classes by watching television. But he struggled with his new language. That, combined with a cheerful nature, made him vulnerable, his sister said.
"We told him New York could be a dangerous place," she said, "but he didn't believe it."
On Sept. 11, Siwiak was looking for work in lower Manhattan when he learned about the attack. He called his family in Poland to say he was safe. It was the last time they heard from him.
Late that night, Siwiak donned a camouflage jacket, borrowed a subway map from his landlord and set out for a job cleaning a supermarket in unfamiliar territory: the tough Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
Police believe he may have gotten off at the wrong subway stop and wandered around lost. What happened next — and why — is unclear.
His assailant fired several rounds but hit Siwiak only once. There were no clear signs of a robbery. The victim's wallet, with cash, was found on his body.
Lucyna speculates her brother was killed because, with his dark hair and Army-style jacket, the killer thought he was an Arab militant.
"I think maybe it was a mistake," she said. "There were many angry people."
Police dismiss that theory but say they have little to go on. —The Associated Press