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ME: Sylvie Cachay Was Held Underwater, Strangled

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)--The New York City medical examiner says a swimsuit designer found in a bathtub full of water at a chic Manhattan hotel was strangled and drowned.

Sylvie Cachay was found dead at the Soho House hotel on Dec. 9. She was half-clothed and face-up in a tub full of water with bruises on her neck. Police said Brooks choked Cachay, and then left her to die in the bathtub.

The medical examiner's office said Wednesday the 33-year-old died from compression of neck and drowning and she had been forcibly submerged in the tub. The death was ruled a homicide. Cachay was found with a bite mark on her hand and a red bruise on her neck, police said.

Cachay's 24-year-old boyfriend Nicholas Brooks, son of Oscar-winning songwriter Joseph Brooks, has been charged in her death. He was arrested on charges of attempted murder. Prosecutors have not disclosed details on formal charges.

His lawyer, Jeffrey Hoffman has said his client is innocent and that he was in shock. "He's not doing well. He's in shock. Somebody who he cared a great deal for and had an intense relationship with is dead," Hoffman said.

Cachay's family feels Brooks was outraged because she was leaving him.

When asked if his client was in love with Cachay, Hoffman said that Brooks "had a very close relationship with her."

"They were close. They were together almost all the time — the evidence is going to show that. And he's devastated by the loss," Hoffman said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

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