NEW YORK — A Portuguese model was arrested on charges of second-degree murder in the slaying of a celebrity Portuguese television journalist found castrated and bludgeoned to death in a New York City hotel, police said Monday.
Renato Seabra, 21, of Cantanhede, Portugal, has been hospitalized since hours after the slaying of Carlos Castro. The 65-year-old was found dead Friday evening in room 3416 of the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel that the two men had shared, police said. His nude body was covered in blood on the floor and he had been castrated. The medical examiner’s office ruled Castro died from a combination of blunt impact head injuries and strangulation, according to spokeswoman Grace Burgess.
The death was ruled a homicide on Sunday. Seabra was detained by police early Saturday after he sought care at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, not far from the hotel. He was later transferred by authorities to Bellevue Hospital Center where he underwent a psychiatric evaluation and remained on Monday. He was awaiting arraignment Monday on the charge, but the timing was unclear.
Friends in New York said Castro and Seabra were a couple. But Seabra’s mother told Portugal’s TVIndependente television network that her son “was not Carlos Castro’s lover.”
Seabra “never hid his sexuality: that he is heterosexual,” Odilia Pereirinha said Sunday before heading to New York. Portugal’s Lusa news agency said Monday that Portuguese officials would meet with Seabra.
It was not immediately known if Seabra had retained a lawyer.
Castro and Seabra had arrived in the U.S. in late December to see some Broadway shows and spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square, according to a family friend.
There had been some friction between the two men toward the end of the trip, but nothing to suggest that anything horrible was about to happen, said the friend, Luis Pires, the editor of the Portuguese language newspaper Luso-Americano.
Seabra was a contestant last year on a Portuguese TV show called A Procura Do Sonho,” or “Pursuit of a Dream,” which hunts for modeling talent.
He didn’t win the show but did get a modeling contract .