Former Playboy centerfold apparently jumps to death with son


NEW YORK (AP) — A former Playboy centerfold involved in a custody battle apparently jumped with her 7-year-old son to their deaths from the 25th floor of a Manhattan hotel, law enforcement officials said today.

The pair checked into the penthouse suite of the Gotham Hotel about 6 p.m. Thursday, police said at a brief news conference. They fell 23 floors, and were found on a second-floor balcony about 8:15 a.m. Friday in the rear courtyard of the hotel.

Law enforcement officials identified the woman as Stephanie Adams and her son as Vincent. They were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The officials said she was involved in a custody dispute over Vincent with her estranged husband, a Manhattan chiropractor named Charles Nicolai, and that police had been called to their home several times in the past few months.

Nicolai and her estranged husband had been in "a very tough custody case," said Raoul Felder, a divorce lawyer who represented her for a time. The standoff was contentious enough that the former couple handed off their son to each other at a police precinct, an arrangement that's unusual but not unheard of, Felder said.

Felder said he had been friends with Adams for 20 years but stopped representing her in the divorce case a couple of months ago. Recently, she had been hoping to go to Europe to be with a boyfriend there, and that had become an issue in the case, he said.

Still, "she was never depressed while I knew her. She had certain problems, but depression wasn't one of them," Felder said.

Her husband's lawyer didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about the case. A receptionist who answered the phone at Nicolai's office said Nicolai would not comment and was unreachable.

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