Boyfriend Arrested in Fashion Designer Sylvie Cachay's Death - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Boyfriend Arrested in Fashion Designer Sylvie Cachay's Death

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A McLean, Va., woman on the fast track to fashion fame was found murdered in Manhattan. 33-year-old Sylvie Cachay was found dead in a bathtub at the exclusive Soho House Hotel early Thursday morning.

Nicholas Brooks, 24, was arrested on charges of attempted murder and strangulation in Cachay's death.

Cachay's parents are from Peru, but she was born and raised in McLean. She spent years studying fashion, interning at Marc Jacobs and landing jobs at Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria's Secret before finally launching her own swimsuit line.

FOX 5 spoke to her mother, Sylvia Cachay, at her family home in McLean. She is desperate to know why someone would murder her only daughter.

"My heart is broken. My life is destroyed," said Sylvia.

Enormous portraits of Sylvie fill the walls of the home. Her mother Sylvia is an artist. She says her daughter began sketching designs at age 3, eventually studying at Parsons Paris School of Art and Design and at Marymount University in Virginia.

"She was just a joy, more than a joy, full of energy, creativity, life," said her mother.

Janice Ellinwood was one of Sylvie's professors at Marymount. She remembers the young designer as vivacious and driven. Ellinwood says she still has one of Sylvie's portfolios and shows it to students as an example of great work.

"She had a grace about her,” said Ellinwood. “She had humility and she took great pride in her work."

At around 3 a.m. Thursday, that promising life ended. Sylvie was found submerged in a hotel bathtub with bruises on her neck and a bite mark on her hand. She was staying at the exclusive Soho House Club in Manhattan and was reportedly in the company of her one-time boyfriend Nicholas Brooks.

Brooks is the troubled son of Oscar-winning songwriter Joseph Brooks, who wrote "You Light Up My Life." More recently, the elder Brooks is awaiting trial on charges of raping 11 women he allegedly lured to his apartment with promises of movie roles.

Sylvia say Nicolas Brooks began wooing her daughter after Sylvie's beloved poodle was killed by a car.

"He helped her through all this process and they became boyfriend and girlfriend," she said. "Sylvie always had this idea of helping people and I think this boy needed help in directing his life."

But on a family vacation in Cancun just two weeks ago, Sylvie told her mother the relationship was over.

"She told me, ‘Mommy, we are just friends right now. He's trying but I told him that I don’t want to have a serious relationship or consider marriage if he does not change," said Sylvia.

Sylvie's mother says she can't bear the though of burying her daughter.

"I want to really, really know what happened. Why did he do this to her? What happened? Because she was a good girl," said her mother.

Police have ruled Cachay's death as a homicide. An initial autopsy was unable to conclusively determine the cause of her death. The results of a more thorough autopsy could take days or even weeks.

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