Reporting Tony Aiello
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The suspect in the gruesome murder of a Portuguese journalist at the Inter-Continental New York Times Square Hotel is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue Hospital, police sources said.
Renato Seabra, a 20-year-old Portuguese male model, checked into Bellevue Hospital early Saturday morning for injuries of his own. He has not been charged or interviewed yet in the death of journalist and gay rights activist Carlos Castro, police said.
Police said hotel workers found Castro’s lifeless body in a pool of blood at 7 p.m. on Friday on the 34th floor of the hotel located at West 44th Street and Eighth Avenue. Police said Castro was also sexually mutilated.
Crime scene investigators were at the hotel into Saturday morning. Police said the victim suffered serious head trauma. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.
Police said a friend came to check on Castro when she discovered him dead. She told police she saw Seabra leaving the hotel, asking about Castro and Seabra reportedly told her “he’s not coming out.”
The incident is unsettling for guests like Ann from Denmark.
“This is so far from the daily life. I think it’s too unreal for me to comprehend,” she said.
Seabra, who rocketed to fame in Portugal last year when he was a finalist on a popular model-search reality show, and Castro, who reported mostly on the fashion and music world, had checked into the hotel on Dec. 29. The two are said to be in a relationship and came to New York City for Broadway plays and the New Year’s Eve celebration.
One guest, who didn’t want to show her face, told CBS 2 she heard fighting coming from the victim’s room.
“Earlier on, I heard loud voices. Just a couple arguing, just like voices coming from the room. I’m quite frightened because we’re here on our honeymoon,” she said.
“It’s unfortunate. I’m not shocked by it. This is a large city and crime is everywhere,” another guest said.
Seabra was a contestant last year on a Portuguese TV show called “A Prodcura Do Sonho,” or “Pursuit of a Dream,” which hunts for modeling talent.
Castro was admired in Portugal for his bravery in coming out as a gay man and “revealing the feminine side of his personality,” said Rui Pedro Tendinha, a fellow journalist who knew Castro.
Castro was a high-profile public figure as a journalist and TV personality, Tendinha said.
“The way he died is causing a big commotion in Portugal,” he said.
“Any death is tragic but this one is especially sad,” said Carlos Picarra, the founder of Portugal’s Lux and VIP celebrity magazines. “This is hard to understand.”
He called Castro a “very open, ambitious guy” whom he respected.
Designer Ana Salazar, considered a fashion pioneers in Portugal, recalled Castro’s role as one of the country’s first social columnists.
“I was both in his best- and worst-dressed lists in the ’80s,” she said.
She said she was shocked by his death.
“It’s like something out of a horror movie,” she added.
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