A male model from Portugal has been charged in the death of a prominent Portuguese journalist and gay rights activist who was found beaten and castrated in a New York City hotel this weekend. (If you didn’t realize it already, we feel the responsibility to warn you now that the details of this case are grisly.)
The model, 21-year-old Renato Seabra, had been staying with Carlos Castro on the 34th floor of the InterContinental Hotel in Times Square. By all accounts the two were a couple on an extended New Year’s vacation, and they’d been seen together doing all the things tourist couples come to New York to do: dining out with friends and going to Broadway shows.
But the charm of their holiday had worn off by this Friday, when The New York Times reports a concerned friend from New Jersey came to check on Castro. The hotel’s security staff found his bludgeoned body laying in a pool of blood, genitals severed.
Seabra turned up at Roosevelt Hospital where he sought treatment for cuts to his head and wrists. Investigators believed he may have tried to kill himself, so he was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where police questioned him about the murder.
The New York Daily News reports that Seabra wouldn’t admit to police that he and Castro were a couple. He admitted to mutilating Castro with a corkscrew, saying he “did it to get rid of [Castro’s] homosexual demons.”
His mother backed him up in a television interview in Portugal:
“My son was not Carlos Castro’s lover,” Seabra’s mother, Odília Pereirinha, told a Portuguese TV station. “From the beginning, he never hid his sexuality, which is heterosexual.”
A Portuguese newspaper editor told The Associated Press that there was tension between the two by the end of the trip, but nothing that would suggest a murder was imminent. The cause of Castro’s death has not been determined, but police reports say he suffered serious head trauma.
Seabra is still in police custody at Bellevue Hospital.
Male model Renato Seabra charged with murder after confession in castration slay of Carlos Castro [NYDN]
NYPD charge Portuguese model in NYC hotel slaying [Yahoo! News]
Man Held in Times Sq. Hotel Killing [NYT]
Man Is Beaten and Killed in Upscale Hotel [NYT]