Richard Descoings, French academic, found dead

April 4, 2012 4:59:37 AM PDT
Richard Descoings, a prominent French academic, was found dead in his hotel room in Midtown Tuesday afternoon.

Descoings was staying at the Michelangelo Hotel on 6th Avenue and 51st Street.

He was in town for a conference at Columbia University.

The 53-year-old was supposed to meet colleagues in the lobby of the hotel at 9 a.m.

When he never showed, they asked the hotel to check on him and left, thinking he may have gone ahead.

Hotel personnel checked on him and he appeared to be sleeping.

When he never showed at the conference, colleagues notified the hotel who went back to check on him and found him dead.

That was at around 1 p.m.

He was nude, and the hotel room was in disarray.

Descoings was found dead in Room 723. Alcohol and prescription drugs were found in the room, but it is not known if they played a role in his death.

There was no obvious trauma.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne initially said that the death was being investigated as suspicious, but after they learned more information about the condition of the room, they were able to clear up some questions and are moving away from the theory that the death is suspicious.

His cause of death will however have to be determined by the Medical Examiner.

Descoings is the director of the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and a member of France's government advisory board.

Sciences-Po as it's called, is an elite school and a training ground for French politicians including Dominique Strauss Kahn.

Tuesday night, the Midtown Hotel was a crime scene.

Guests were being asked for identification.

Tuesday night, the entire 7th floor was sealed off to the public.

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