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Another death at Gregory

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For the second time in three months, a man has been found dead inside the Gregory Hotel, a Bay Ridge staple at 8315 Fourth Avenue. While the first instance in the hotel had been labeled a murder (which detectives have since solved), investigators are treating the latest case as a suicide, although it was unclear exactly what the victim died from as this paper went to press. Sources also say that conflicting reports in The New York Times and other publications that 52-year-old Paul Mento was found in a bathtub bound and gagged with duct tape were inaccurate. “He wasn’t found in the tub and he wasn’t bound,” a source close to the investigation said Tuesday. “It appears to be a suicide.” Officials from the city’s medical examiner’s office confirmed that Mento’s death was ruled a suicide by asphyxia. There were no signs of trauma on the body. It’s been alleged that he had suffocated to death by wrapping his face in duct tape. “It was a weird way to go,” the source said. Mento’s body was found inside the bathroom at 12:45 p.m. Monday — about an hour after he came to the front desk and asked hotel staffers when he had to “check out.” He had rented a room in the hotel — which has been under the control of the Best Western Hotel chain in recent years — on Sunday, and then went out. He didn’t return to his room until early Monday morning, several hours before he was found dead. When the call first came in, investigators didn’t know what to think – especially since two months earlier another Bay Ridge resident was found dead inside a hotel room at the Gregory. On December 2, David Diaz was found sprawled out on a hotel room after being hit in the head and stabbed in the back. About a month later, cops linked the killing to Pamela Hanson, a female acquaintance of Diaz’s, who checked out a room with him the night before he was found murdered. The only eerie connection between the two deaths is that the both occurred on the second floor, officials said. “It’s understandable that incidents like these raises eyebrows in the community,” said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct. “But everyone should know that the first homicide was solved and this is definitely a suicide.” Calls to the Gregory’s manager, as well as the Best Western Hotel chain in regards to these two deaths were not returned as this paper went to press.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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