Reporting Lou Young
NEW YORK (CBS 2/ 1010 WINS) – The NYPD is investigating a mysterious death of someone well known in New York’s inner fashion circles.
Her body was carried out of the ultra-exclusive Soho House on Thursday, but the woman’s neighbor at her nearby apartment said she may have been a witness to fighting just hours before the body was discovered.
Police were questioning someone, who, himself, comes from Hollywood pedigree, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.
The body was discovered in an overflowing fifth floor bathtub inside the building in the Meatpacking District on 9th Avenue.
The dead woman was identified as 33-year-old Sylvie Cachay, the founder of the SYLA fashion line. Her partially clothed body was found in a Soho House room after police received a 911 call from the hotel at about 3 a.m. Water was discovered leaking from a ceiling and hotel staff went to the floor above to investigate. They found the woman, dressed in a sweater and underwear, submerged in the tub.
Cachay lived at an apartment just 10 blocks from the Soho House, and a neighbor said she may have been a witness hours before the fashion designers was found dead at the exclusive hotel.
The neighbor, Judy, declined to share her last name, but she lives one floor below and said she heard violence.
“It sounded like somebody attacked her,” Judy told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.
At about 11 p.m. Wednesday – just hours before Cachay’s body was found – Judy said she heard fighting.
“I heard her talking very softly, and it sounded like she was almost whining or moaning,” Judy said.
Investigators said the victim had redness on her neck and collarbone that may suggest foul play.
There were prescription drugs found at the scene and sources tell 1010 WINS an overdose is a possibility.
The incident was clearly unnerving for people leaving the upscale members-only hotel and club on Thursday.
“I don’t think any of us would expect a place like SoHo House to be the location of a murder. It’s just too exclusive, well-respected and a meeting place of the who’s who,” resident Laura Levitan said.
The cause of death has not been determined.
People who knew the dead woman said she had just broken up with boyfriend Nicholas Brooks, 24, son of Academy Award-winning songwriter James Brooks. The younger Brooks was questioned by police much of the day but has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Brooks’ 72-year-old father, who penned the 1970s balled “You Light Up My Life, is also known to police. He’s currently under indictment on 82 counts of sex-related charges.
The Soho House is located near chic restaurants like Spice Market and Pastis. Its website says it has 24 rooms that offer guests “a unique combination of luxury and style.” It says card-carrying members have to be verified at the front desk. The building has a screening room, library, heated rooftop pool and fine dining.
Crime scene specialists from the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office remained at the scene into Thursday evening.
“That’s just so sad, especially this time of year. Everyone should be in the holiday spirit. It’s just unbelievable,” Greenwich resident Matt McRoberts said.