Mon, Jan 10, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Portuguese TV celebrity castrated, killed in hotel


A celebrity Portuguese television journalist was found castrated and bludgeoned to death in a New York hotel and his companion, a male model who had recently been a contestant on a Portuguese reality TV show, was in police custody on Saturday.

Workers at the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel discovered the mutilated body of the 65-year-old journalist, Carlos Castro, in his blood-drenched room at about 7pm on Friday.

He had arrived in the US late last month in the company of his young boyfriend, the model Renato Seabra, 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, editor of the Portuguese-language newspaper Luso-Americano in Newark, New Jersey.

“I think that they were a little bit upset with each other, for jealousy reasons,” Pires said.

The couple saw the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, took in the movie The Black Swan and were supposed to meet Pires’ daughter for dinner on Friday when Seabra suddenly emerged in the lobby acting strangely, he said.

“He told my daughter: ‘Carlos will never leave the hotel again,’” Pires said.

He said his daughter, distraught, fetched a hotel manager. Security guards opened the door to the room and found the body.

Seabra left the scene, but was detained by police hours later after he sought care at St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, not far from the hotel. He was being evaluated on Saturday at Bellevue Hospital Center, across town. No charges had been filed against Seabra as of Saturday afternoon, the New York Police Department said.

Police said Castro suffered serious head trauma. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

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 with an agency founded by Fatima Lopes, who developed the show and was a judge on it.

Seabra had always been interested in fashion, he told the Independente de Cantanhede newspaper in Portugal in September.

“I have entered this world and I don’t want to leave it because I see I can be successful,” he said.

Castro was admired in Portugal for his bravery in coming out as a gay man and “revealing the feminine side of his personality,” said Rui Pedro Tendinha, a film critic who knew Castro.

He was a high-profile public figure as a TV personality, Tendinha said.

“The way he died is causing a big commotion in Portugal,” Tendinha said.

Designer Ana Salazar, considered a fashion pioneer in Portugal, recalled Castro’s role as one of the country’s first social columnists.

“I was both in his best and worst-dressed lists in the 80s,” she said.

She said she was shocked by his death.

“It’s like something out of a horror movie,” she added.

A guest at the InterContinental, Suzanne Divilly, 40, told the Daily News she heard the two men arguing in their room during the day on Friday.

“There was a lot of noise, talking,” she said. “You could hear them arguing in the corridor and even in our room.”

Another guest, Anthony Hughes, 43, of Newcastle, Australia, told the newspaper he saw the woman who had gone to the hotel check on Castro “screaming hysterically” in the lobby.

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