Boyfriend Arrested in Designer's Hotel Death

Son of famed composer charged with attempted murder

By Colleen Long
|  Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012  |  Updated 11:38 PM EDT
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Police are investigating the death of a young swimsuit designer found in a swanky <a title=Manhattan hotel bathtub." />

Police are investigating the death of a young swimsuit designer found in a swanky Manhattan hotel bathtub.

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The boyfriend of a fashion designer found dead in a bathtub at an upscale Manhattan hotel is now awaiting arraignment--and telling police she was "fine" when he left her.

Nicolas Brooks, 24, has been charged with second-degree attempted murder and strangulation, police officials said. The arrest comes after investigators obtained a search warrant to examine Brooks's fingernails and body.

``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.
 

Brooks, 24, has been charged with second-degree attempted murder and strangulation, police officials said. The arrest comes after investigators obtained a search warrant to examine Brooks's fingernails and body.

The son of  "You Light Up My Life" songwriter Joseph Brooks, Nicholas has been in custody since his girlfriend, Slyvie Cachay, was discovered around 3:30 a.m. Thursday at the Soho House hotel. Police would look for traces of DNA, skin under his fingernails, and any possible signs of struggle or trauma, said Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

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.

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' Academy Award-winning father 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.
 

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