Foul play has not been ruled out in the death of Richard Descoings, authorities said
By Keith Latteri | Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Updated: 10:00 PM EDT
A leading French academic who has ties to that country’s political leadership was found dead in a Midtown hotel room Tuesday, and police have not ruled out foul play.
Richard Descoings, 52, was found dead at around 4 p.m. inside room 723 at The Michelangelo Hotel on West 51st Street, sources said.
NYPD crime scene detectives were at the hotel Tuesday night. It wasn’t clear how Descoings died, a department spokesman said.
One law enforcement official said the room appeared to be in disarray, and some of Descoings’ belongings were found on a third-floor landing of the hotel below his seventh-floor window.
Another law enforcement source said medication and alcohol were found in the hotel room.
Descoings is a director at France’s prestigious Institute of Political Studies in Paris. He also serves as an adviser to France’s political leaders.
He was in New York to attend a conference at Columbia University but never showed up, an NYPD spokesman said. Colleagues were worried and called the hotel to check on him at around 1 p.m. When staff checked, they thought he was sleeping, according to the spokesman. Police were later called around 4 p.m.
The NYPD investigation into the death of a prominent French citizen comes nearly a year after authorities here investigated sex abuse allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a one-time contender for the French presidency. The charges against Strauss-Kahn were later dropped.
A spokeswoman for the New York City’s Medical Examiner’s Office declined comment on the investigation into Descoings’ death, saying no information was yet available.