Autopsy Unable To Determine Cause Of Death, Toxicology Results Pending

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Questions continue to surround the mysterious death of a Long Island doctor whose body was found in the doorway of a building in Chelsea on Sunday.

Crime Scene Unit investigators have been at 223 W. 16th St. for more than 24 hours trying to determine what led to the death of 38-year-old dermatologist Kiersten Cerveny of Manhasset.

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Police said Cerveny, a married mother of three, was found unconscious and dying in the doorway of the building around 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Cerveny’s autopsy is complete, but the cause of death is inconclusive pending toxicology test results, sources told CBS2.

Police are not investigating the case as a homicide, and preliminary indications are that the woman’s death was consistent with a cocaine overdose, sources said.

Police sources said Cerveny, a former New Jersey beauty queen and high-achieving Duke and Tulane grad, was originally out with friends, one of whom told cops the doctor was doing drugs and drinking, and said she met up with a man, a TV producer, at a Lower East Side bar, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

Sources said Cerveny and that man left around 4:30 a.m. to come to Chelsea, where they met up with a second man, who lives in the building where she was found.

The building’s super, Luis Serrano, told CBS2 he identified his tenant on surveillance video for police.

“For me, he’s a nice guy,” he said.

Police sources said the surveillance video caught both men carrying Cerveny’s body to the building’s front door, Grymes reported. They said the TV producer called 911, but both left before police arrived.

The producer spoke to police and is not facing charges. Police are trying to speak to the other man.

Sources said Cerveny and the man at the bar have known each other for some time and may have been involved romantically. The man who lives at the apartment they visited was a dealer with prior drug arrests, and Cerveny and the man went there to score more cocaine, police sources told CBS2.

A neighbor who asked not to be identified told CBS2’s Jessica Schneider that Cerveny looked like she had been out partying.

“That was one of my first thoughts. She looked like someone who had been out partying for a very long time,” she said.

Cops were told by neighbors the apartment is a frequent party spot and when they arrived after the body was found, there was a strong smell of marijuana inside, sources said.

Neighbor Nadia Hokayem saw the doctor in the ambulance.

“Looking at her feet, I could tell she’s a young lady,” she said. “The guy was trying to revive her.”

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Police sources said Cerveny was discovered fully clothed with bruising on her neck, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported. Emergency responders tried to save her, but she died at the hospital.

The bruising came from a recent surgery, officials said.

The incident left neighbors and building residents stunned.

“I’m nervous, upset and scared because we don’t know how it happened,” said resident Rosemarie Gulati.

“Very, very frightening especially for us in Chelsea, where we’ve always felt safe,” neighbor Teal Camner told Sanchez.

“Especially since it was right in the doorway and I think about, you know, all the doorways on this block that are kept open and everybody trusts everybody.”

“Usually this is a very quiet neighborhood, everybody knows each other so when we see something like this, we wonder is everybody we know OK,” another resident said.

Cerveny was a respected doctor on Long Island, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported. Detectives from the 10th Precinct spoke to her husband, but do not believe he is involved in her death. She lived in Manhassat with her husband Andrew and their three kids.

In Williston Park, Long Island, police kept watch Monday over her medical office, North Shore Dermatology, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

Colleagues, patients and friends were visibly shaken, and her nameplate was quickly removed from the office door.

Patients described her as brilliant, loving and caring.

“Can’t believe it,” said patient Clare Manes. “Thirty-eight years old — that is criminal. And even if it was a normal death, to leave three beautiful children — oh, I am so upset.”

Cerveny recently bought a bouquet from the florist next to her office, who called her outgoing and cheerful.

“She seemed fine, smiling, very talkative,” said Wayne Toolsie, who works at Village Flower Shop.

Cerveny married her husband in 2009 at the Gramercy Park Hotel. He is also a dermatologist. He did not answer the door to well-wishers or deliveries of fruit and flowers Monday. A Lexus and BMW remained park in the driveway.

Neighbors said the news hits hard, and there were no signs of trouble.

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“When it’s something like this in the neighborhood, it’s like heartbreaking,” said Anthony Colalillo.