It’s a Manhattan murder mystery — a dashing, wealthy 78-year-old widower found strangled and decomposing in his Upper East Side apartment.
A necktie was looped twice around Christopher Cooley’s neck. Two weeks worth of newspapers had accumulated in a pile outside his door when he was found.
Workers at his East 64th Street building assumed, when they didn’t see him, that he’d taken one of his periodic trips to Europe.
“We thought he was on vacation,” one worker said Friday as coroners deemed the death a homicide.
“He would always go out [on vacation] without telling anybody,” the worker said, “He went to Italy, France, you name it.”
Cooley was found on March 16 after his worried sister called the super’s office from her home in Connecticut, asking that someone look in on him.
He was sitting up on the couch in his living room, a small throw pillow over his head and the shards of a broken table lamp scattered over his body.
[. . .]
“He was from Hartford and educated at Yale,” one longtime friend told The Post of the urbane Cooley, speaking on condition of anonymity given the violent nature of his death.
A lover of Renaissance art and opera, Cooley was a “trust fund kid,” she said, “tall and handsome, and he was just an absolutely grand man.”
Cooley’s wife, Mary, had contracted multiple sclerosis just one year into their marriage, yet Cooley stayed home and cared for her for 26 years, the friend said.
Six years ago, he survived a kidney transplant, she said. “I heard Sunday night,” the friend said of his death. “I was in pieces.”
Rich widower found strangled to death in apartment
By Jamie Schram, Kevin Fasick and Laura Italiano
New York Post
March 25, 2016 | 9:50am | Updated
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Christopher Cooley, 78, was seated on the couch in his living room with a necktie wrapped twice around his neck when the building's super came in through a back door.
Cooley had congealed blood in his hair and a pillow over his head, the New York Times reported There was a shattered lamp at his feet.
Coroners said on Friday that Cooley had been strangled to death.
'The cause of death is ligature strangulation, and the manner of death, homicide,' Dr Barbara Sampson, the city's chief medical examiner, said.
Cooley, who lived on East 64th Street in New York, had $192 worth of cash in his pockets according to the New York Post.
Police found no sign of a break-in or robbery and the deadbolt was locked.
When Cooley was found on March 16, newspapers dating back to March 5 had piled up at the door.
His disappearance went unnoticed for a while because he took frequent trips to Europe without telling anyone in the building beforehand, a doorman told the New York Times.
'Murder' mystery of the wealthy widower whose strangled, decomposing body was found in his locked Upper East Side home with two weeks worth of deliveries piled up
Christopher Cooley, 78, was found on a couch with his necktie looped around his neck and a pillow on his face
The deadbolt was locked and police didn't find any sign of a break-in when they went in on March 16
There was a pile of newspapers dating back to March 5 at his door
Coroners said the death was the result of a homicide on Friday
Cooley's disappearance went unnoticed because he took frequent trips to Europe without prior warning
By CLEMENCE MICHALLON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 14:31 EST, 26 March 2016 | UPDATED: 18:46 EST, 26 March 2016