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Mystery Chelsea Gay Death- Murder?

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UPDATE: Since I posted this, I found a very sympathetic look on the story at kennethinthe212.com. Check it out.




The tabloids are ablaze with the story of a very drunk young Chelsea boy found dead in bed with a plastic bag stuffed down his throat. Nothing stolen, but hard to believe one would kill oneself that way:


'Very drunk' Pace student reportedly called five friends after party





Tuesday, September 2nd 2008, 1:01 AM

Giancarli for News


Two women place flowers yesterday at the steps of Chelsea apartment building where Kevin Pravia lived. Pravia was found strangled Sunday night.


Cops were hunting Monday for friends a Pace University student called before he was found dead in his Chelsea apartment - a cord around his neck, a plastic bag shoved down his throat.


Covered in a sheet and dressed in boxers and a T-shirt, Kevin Pravia, 19, was found Sunday night when his roommate returned to their W. 15th St. apartment after a weekend away.


The honor student was "very drunk" when seen leaving a party near the South Street Seaport at 5:30a.m. Saturday, police sources said.


"Someone helped him to a taxi and gave him cab fare," said Evan Santoro, 18, who was also at the "gathering of friends" inside the apartment on Gold St. "Nobody heard from him again."


Shortly after leaving the party, Pravia, a sophomore at Pace's Lubin School of Business, called as many as five male friends, said cops.


"We believe he was trying to contact them after the party," said a source.


Investigators tracked down at least one of the men he called, but the person's alibi checked out, a source said.


Detectives were also looking for Pravia's cell phone and laptop computer, which were missing from his apartment.


Jewelry belonging to Pravia's roommate, Josephine Madonna, also a Pace sophomore, and a ring Pravia wore were not stolen, suggesting robbery was not a motive for murder, police sources said.


"We will talk to the people he was calling," a top NYPD official said. If they can't offer any clues, "then we're back to square one - a stranger on the street."


Police sources said they were testing theplastic bag, sheet and cord for forensicevidence and looking through surveillance video to see who came in and outof the building. The student's death has not been officially ruled a murder. An autopsy was inconclusive and further tests were needed.


As cops dug for clues, Pravia's mother, Paula, made a grim pilgrimage to New York from Peru, Mass., to identify her son. Police said there was no evidence of forced entry or sexual assault.


A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said Madonna and Pravia, friends from Massachusetts, moved into the Chelsea building just two week ago.


He was gay and Madonna is straight, the neighbor said.


"His [moving boxes are] still in the hallway," she said.


Another neighbor, Teresa Hicks, 41, was startled when Madonna, who was away for several days, screamed when she found the body in the fifth-floor apartment. "The girl was shouting, 'My God! My God! He's dead,'" Hicks said.


Hicks said Madonna had received text messages from Pravia's worried mother, who hadn't heard from her son since Friday. Madonna text-messaged Pravia on Friday and Saturday, but got no response.


Hicks said Pravia's frantic mother called the apartment while Madonna was speaking with detectives Sunday.


"Josephine answered and just cried into the phone, 'He's dead!'" Hicks said.


The death left Pravia's family baffled.


"We've all been up all night crying our eyes out," Julia Ford, Pravia's aunt, said at her home in Dalton, Mass. "He was a great kid. I don't see where he would have had any enemies to do anything like this - I hope they catch whoever did this."


Pravia, who took a train to New York from Massachusetts last Wednesday, was due to start classes tomorrow.


Santoro, also a Pace sophomore, said classmates are shocked.


"It's crazy to think this could happen to somebody so closely related to us," he said.


Cops ask that anyone with information on the case call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or text their tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577.




Picture of deceased student:




More in the NY Post:



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Guest ncm2169

Could someone please enlighten me on how an autopsy can be called "inconclusive" when this is how he was found:


< a cord around his neck, a plastic bag shoved down his throat.


The bag part I could buy, but the cord? x(

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NYC suspect held in Mass. college student’s death

By Jessica Fargen

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 - Updated 11m ago

+ Recent Articles + Recent Blog Entries + Email + Bio General Assignment Reporter

Check out Jessica Fargen's Reporter's Notebook blog.

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New York police are reportedly questioning a 22-year-old man whom they believe suffocated a college student from Massachusetts after being invited back to his Manhattan apartment following a night of partying.


New York police are questioning the man and expect to charge him, The Associated Press is reporting.


Kevin Pravia, 19, a Pace University sophomore, was found dead inside his West Fifteenth Street apartment Sunday at 6:30 p.m., according to New York police. An electrical cord was wrapped around his neck and a plastic bag had been shoved down his throat, according to police.


Police say a 22-year-old, being questioned in an unrelated case, admitted to suffocating Pravia with a pillow and stealing his cell phone, laptop and iPod. The man claims Pravia approached him for drugs and then invited him to his apartment, the AP is reporting.


Pravia, who is from the Pittsfield area, was living in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, police say. His roommate discovered his body when she returned home Sunday night from a weekend spent away.


Pravia was last seen leaving a party around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and made drunken phone calls to at least five male friends, the New York Daily News reported.


Police are investigating the death as a homicide, but no official cause of death has been determined, said New York Police Det. Martin Speechley.


A man who answered the phone at a Pravia family residence in Hinsdale declined comment. A man who lives in the Hinsdale neighborhood where Pravia’smother lives called Pravia a “wonderful kid.”


Pravia graduated from Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton in 2007, according to the high school.


Melissa Allard, who went to high school with Pravia, said he was well-liked across the high school stratum.


“He was one of those people everybody knew,” said Allard, a college student in Boston who lost touch with Pravia after high school. “He hung out with people from every single group. He was a really friendly, joiner kind of person. He was always happy. He was always joking around.”


At Pace University, Pravia was enrolled in the Challenge to Achievement at Pace, a first-year student program where he made the honor roll.


Pace University issued the following statement upon learning of Pravia’s death: “Pace University has learned of the death of sophomore student Kevin Pravia at his off-campus apartment in New York City. We are deeply saddened by the news. Our sympathy and thoughts go out to Kevin’s family, friends and classmates.”



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Killed by a homeless guy he picked up? For drugs? We'll never know the truth now, but I hope this derelict's story is wrong.


NEW YORK (AP) -- A homeless man apparently used a pillowcase to suffocate a college honors student he had just met, then hung out at the young man's apartment to watch a gory horror film before stealing electronics from the apartment and selling them, police said Tuesday.


Kevin Pravia, 19, was found Sunday night by his roommate in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. The Pace University sophomore was last seen being helped into a taxi early Saturday after a party in Manhattan.


Jeromie Cancel, 22, was arrested Tuesday on murder charges. Investigators said that while Cancel was being questioned in an unrelated case, he admitted suffocating Pravia and stealing his cell phone, laptop computer and iPod.


Police said Cancel, who smiled for television cameras as he was being led in handcuffs out of a police station, was homeless. Police didn't know whether he had an attorney.


Cancel's father, Jesus Soto, told WNYW-TV that his son had stolen possessions from him in June, and that he called police when Cancel showed up at his apartment Monday night.


''You don't take someone's life like that,'' the father said. ''He deserves what he gets.''


Cancel claimed that Pravia approached him in Manhattan's Union Square park around 6 a.m. Saturday looking for drugs and that the two went to his apartment, a few blocks to the northwest, police said. After the slaying, Cancel stayed behind to watch the violent film ''Saw,'' then left before 11 a.m., police said.


No drugs were found at the scene, police said.


The medical examiner's office said tests were being performed to determine the cause of Pravia's death.


Cancel told investigators that Pravia fell asleep and that he decided to rob him, so he punched the student in the face, stuffed a bag in his mouth, wrapped the television cord around his neck and suffocated him, police said. He said he sold the laptop on the street after leaving the apartment, sold the cell phone in a store and couldn't remember what he did with the iPod, they said.


Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said authorities recovered the phone where it had been sold.


Pravia was from Peru, Mass., about 10 miles from the New York border.


Pace officials offered sympathy to Pravia's family. Grieving friends quickly cobbled a Facebook page dedicated to the student, expressing shock over his death.


Pravia was a 2007 graduate of Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, Mass., where counselors were available Tuesday for staff and students. Principal James Conro remembered Pravia as a ''quiet, polite and respectful young man.''


''My heart goes out to the family,'' Conro told The Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield, Mass.

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