A leading French academic who has ties to that country's political leadership was found dead in a Midtown hotel room Tuesday, and police have not ruled out foul play. Jonathan Dienst reports.
An autopsy conducted on a leading French academic whose lifeless body was discovered in a midtown hotel room Tuesday is inconclusive, the medical examiner's office said.
The autopsy on Richard Descoings was awaiting toxicology results, which could take weeks.
Descoings, 52, was found dead and nude at around 4 p.m. inside room 723 at The Michelangelo Hotel on West 51st Street, sources said.
While nothing has been ruled out, there is no evidence of a crime -- no sign of blunt trauma, strangulation or other form of violence, a law enforcement official said. Descoings' wife came to New York City Wednesday and was being interviewed by investigators.
Police are trying to locate two men believed to have entered his room overnight.
Prescription pills, alcohol, cigarettes and a condom were found in the room, and a number of pills were found in his stomach, according to a law enforcement source. Descoings' credit cards and some euros were also still there. His computer and iPhone were found on a third-floor landing of the hotel below his seventh-floor window.
One law enforcement official said the room appeared to be in disarray, though some of it may have been caused by EMT workers when they responded to aid Descoings.
Descoings is a director at France's prestigious Institute of Political Studies in Paris. He also serves as an adviser to France’s political leaders.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Descoings a pioneer in education who made the school "world renowned."
Sarkozy said Descoings gave underprivileged students the chance to study at the prestigious school, marking "a historic turning point in awareness of scandalous social elitism in France."
Descoings was in New York to attend a conference at Columbia University but never showed up, an NYPD spokesman said. Colleagues were worried and called the hotel to check on him at around 1 p.m. When staff checked, they thought he was sleeping, according to the spokesman. Police were later called around 4 p.m.
The NYPD investigation into the death of a prominent French citizen comes nearly a year after authorities here investigated sex abuse allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a one-time contender for the French presidency. The charges against Strauss-Kahn were later dropped.
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