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Songwriter's son charged in designer's death

The son of an Oscar-winning composer was arrested Friday on charges of attempted murder and strangulation in the death of his fashion designer girlfriend, who was found dead in a tub at an upscale Manhattan hotel.

The medical examiner's office has not ruled on the cause of Sylvie Cachay's death pending toxicology test results, which could take days. An initial autopsy was unable to conclusively pinpoint a cause.

Investigators on Friday took fingernail swabs from Nicholas Brooks, 24, in the hopes of finding evidence that may help them determine how she died.

Police obtained a search warrant that also allowed them to take photos of Brooks, son of "You Light Up My Life" songwriter Joseph Brooks.

He had been with the police since Cachay, who designed her own line of swimwear, was discovered around 3 a.m. Thursday at the Soho House hotel.

Police were looking for any possible signs of struggle or trauma, said chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Cachay, 33, wearing a black top and underwear, was found submerged in the oval tub, faceup, 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.

Before the body was found, Brooks was seen leaving the hotel, then returning and leaving again. According to police, he told investigators he ran into a friend at the lobby, and the two left to go get drinks. He returned around 3:30 a.m. to find police at the room.

Cachay lived in an apartment in Manhattan's West Village but had a membership to the hotel's exclusive club frequented by celebrities.

There had been a small bedroom fire sparked by a candle at her apartment earlier in the week, Browne said.


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