"America's Got Talent" Hopeful's Wife Found Dead

Joe Finley, right, and his wife.
Personal Photo
Joe Finley isn't a known name in Hollywood, but was hoping to change that by landing a spot in the NBC reality show, "America's Got Talent."

Now, Finley, a rock singer/guitarist, is being called a "person of interest" in the death of his wife, Laura, reports CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor.

The two, married 26 years, were celebrating the night before his try-out at the Millennium Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles.

Alexis Tereszcuk, a reporter for Radaronline.com, says, "Joe told us that he and Laura both took an ecstasy pill, and they had been drinking in a bar."

What happened after that remains a mystery.

Laura vanished overnight.

According to published reports, Joe says she left the room around 3 a.m., headed for the ice machine, and never came back.

The next morning, Joe reported her missing to the hotel -- then headed to his audition, Glor says.

While he was waiting to perform, Laura's partially-clad body was discovered in a hotel stairwell. She had fallen eight stories to her death.

"The police approached him at the audition," Tereszcuk says, "showed him a picture of her face (which was) battered and bruised -- and he immediately said, 'Oh, she's dead.' The police didn't tell him she was dead."

Later that day, police questioned him and arrested him on charges of drug possession.

They haven't classified the case as a homicide.

Finley recorded his final hours with Laura, and his parents have seen the video.

They say the couple seemed very much in love. "They were kissing on the bed, happy as can be," says Joe's mother, Marianne Parenteau. "They were so excited. She was typing info for him. She was telling him what to say at the audition. … She was quite sober, quite rational."

Joe reportedly didn't tell Laura's family about he death until Monday, Glor says, two days after she was found.

Toxicology tests, to determine whether Laura had drugs in her system may take several weeks.