Composer's Son Indicted in Girlfriend's Soho Hotel Death

Indictment is sealed. Charges to be unveiled in court Jan. 4

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police are investigating the death of a young swimsuit designer found in a swanky Manhattan hotel bathtub. (Published Friday, Dec 10, 2010)

    The 24-year-old son of an Oscar-winning composer and repeat sex offender has been indicted in the strangulation death of his girlfriend, a fashion designer found dead last week in a Soho hotel bathtub.

    Nicolas Brooks was remanded without bail until his next court date on January 4. Details of today's indictment will be unveiled at that time. He waived his right to appear in court. 

    Prosecutors presented the grand jury with murder charges stemming from the bruises on Cachay's neck and bleeding in her eyes, sources told The New York Post. They also may have considered strangulation charges. The District Attorney's office declined to comment on what charges the grand jury opted to indict Brooks on because of the sealed indictment.

    Last week, Brooks was arrested on second-degree attempted murder and strangulation charges, police officials said. The arrest comes after investigators obtained a search warrant to examine Brooks's fingernails and body. Authorities were awaiting the medical examiner's official cause of death in the case to determine whether the charges should be upgraded.

    Brooks' attorney has maintained his innocence.

    "There's no question in my mind that he's not guilty of any criminal charges in this case,'' said his lawyer, Jeffrey C. Hoffman.

    The medical examiner's office said Friday that toxicology tests were being performed on the body after an initial autopsy was unable to conclusively pinpoint the cause of death. Such tests typically take days.

    The 33-year-old Cachay, wearing a black top and underwear, was found submerged in the oval tub, face-up after hotel staff noticed the ceiling below her room was leaking. Investigators said she had some red marks around her neck and a bite mark on her hand.

    A bottle of prescription pills was found in the room, but no illegal drugs were found.

    Cachay lived in an apartment in Manhattan's West Village, but had a membership to the exclusive club frequented by celebrities. That meant she had access to the rooftop pool, where "Sex and the City" episodes were filmed, and was able to rent one of the 24 guests rooms at a discount. The hotel has hosted stars like Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts.

    Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said there had been a small bedroom fire sparked by a candle at her apartment earlier in the week, and that may have led her to stay at the Soho House.

    Cachay and Brooks had been dating about six months, and investigators said some of her friends told them he was erratic.

    Cachay grew up with dual citizenship, splitting her time between Peru and Virginia. She graduated from Marymount College with a degree in design.

    She interned at Marc Jacobs and worked for Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria's Secret. She left the lingerie empire in 2006 to start her own collection, but had been working at fashion houses again after the economy tanked and she lost her backing. Her former publicist called her the "darling of the swimsuit world."

    Friends described Cachay as a rising fashion star.

    "Although we've lost a bright light, Sylvie's incredible talent, magnetic personality and radiant inner beauty will continue to be an inspiration to the many, many lives she touched," friends Lesa Wright Mchale and Kate Godici said in a statement.

    Brooks' Oscar-winning father Joseph Brooks is awaiting trial in an unrelated case. The 72-year-old was accused of raping 11 women he lured to his apartment with the promise of a starring role in a movie. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges and is free on bail.

    He won the Oscar for Best Original Song for the 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life." He also wrote and directed the movie "You Light Up My Life," about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director.