NEW YORK – A celebrity Portuguese television journalist was found castrated and bludgeoned to death in a New York City hotel, and his companion, a male model who had recently been a contestant on a Portuguese reality TV show, was in police custody Saturday.
The journalist, 65-year-old Carlos Castro, had arrived in the U.S. in late December 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, the editor of the Portuguese language newspaper Luso-Americano.
The couple saw the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and took in the movie “The Black Swan.” But when it was time to meet Pires’ daughter for dinner Friday night, Seabra suddenly emerged in the lobby of the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel acting strangely, Pires 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 at about 7 p.m.
By then, Seabra had left the hotel 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 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 the victim suffered serious head trauma. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.
Castro, who also was a columnist in Portugal, was admired there 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,” he said.
Pires described Castro as having “kind of a Liberace style. Eccentric, but very well-known.” He said he had been on Portuguese TV since he was a teenager, had written several books and was friends with the former president of Portugal, Mario Soares.
The young model and older journalist had been dating each other for a few months, he said.