Murder of Sylvie Cachay

Sylvie Cachay (c. 1977—9 December 2010) was a Peruvian American swimsuit designer who was strangled and drowned in an overflowing bathtub at the Soho House hotel in Manhattan on 9 December 2010. Nicholas Brooks, her boyfriend of six months, was convicted of her second degree murder in July 2013 and sentenced to 25 years to life on 23 September 2013.[1]

Sylvie Cachay
Sylvie Cachay con sus modelos (cropped).jpg
Cachay in 2008
Bornc. 1977
DiedDecember 9, 2010 (aged 33)
Cause of death
CitizenshipDual citizenship between the United States and Peru
OccupationFashion designer
Known forHer murder
  • Antonio Cachay
  • Sylvia Cachay

Early life & relationshipEdit

Cachay was born in Arlington, Virginia,[2] to Dr. Antonio Cachay, a surgeon and otolaryngologist, and Sylvia Cachay, a painter.[3] Sylvie Cachay was Peruvian American and held dual citizenship between both countries,[4] growing up in both Lima and Arlington.[3]

She received her degree in fashion design from Marymount College.[4] She worked as a designer for both Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger before joining the design team of Victoria’s Secret and becoming their head swimsuit designer. She worked there until 2006, when she left to start her own line of swimsuits, Syla.[5] Sports Illustrated featured her designs in their swimsuit video.[6] The company also appeared in numerous magazines, including Elle, InStyle, and Vogue. She finally went out of business in 2008 due to the Great Recession.[7]

Relationship with Nicholas BrooksEdit

Cachay met Nicholas Brooks, the son of songwriter Joseph Brooks, in June 2010. Brooks had dropped out of college and was struggling to remain employed.[8] The two bonded after one of Sylvie's toy poodles was hit by a car. However, their relationship was volatile, as they frequently broke up, made amends, and got back together.[9] A friend of Cachay's, Alicia Bell, later testified that "as long as I've known her, she's never been in a relationship this dramatic".[10]


Cachay and Brooks arrived at the Soho House hotel at around 12:30 AM on 9 December 2010. Cachay explained to the clerk at the front desk that her “stoner” boyfriend had accidentally set fire to their apartment after leaving lit candles behind the bed while he was high on drugs. They were able to put out the fire, but did not want to stay in the apartment due to the smoky smell.[11] She also told the clerk that she was tired and unable to stay awake after she had taken a Xanax. A concierge was appointed to assist her to Room 20. The concierge later recounted that as she left the room, she had heard Cachay and Brooks arguing.[12]

Discovery of bodyEdit

Around 2:00 AM, the hotel staff received multiple complaints of water dripping through the floor of Room 20. They knocked on the door and nobody answered. Letting themselves into the room, they discovered 33-year-old Cachay's body submerged in an overflowing bathtub.[13] She was wearing nothing but a turtleneck sweater, pink underwear, and a Rolex watch.[14] Despite efforts to revive her, paramedics pronounced her dead on the scene at 3:33 AM. The police, examining her body, found wounds on her neck that were consistent with strangulation, hemorrhaging in her eyes, and a bite mark on her hand.[15][16]


The initial autopsy conducted on Cachay's body proved inconclusive. After both a tissue and toxicology test were performed,[17] the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, stating that Cachay had been held underwater in the bathtub and strangled.[18]

Investigation & trialEdit

Immediately after the discovery of Cachay’s body, Brooks was questioned by the police. He told them that he ran into someone he knew in the lobby of the hotel and they went off to buy drinks.[19] He was arrested and charged with her death on 9 December after the police obtained a warrant to search his body for DNA evidence; the investigators found his DNA on the faucet in the bathtub where Cachay was killed.[20]

During the trial, friends of Cachay revealed that Brooks had been hiring prostitutes while dating her, sometimes using her credit card to do so; she became aware of this shortly before her death.[21] Within 24 hours of the murder, she had sent Brooks an email with the header "fuck you", confronting him about the suspicious withdrawals from her credit card and threatening to report him to the police.[22]

He pled not guilty to the charges, but was found guilty of second-degree murder and convicted in July 2013.[23] He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. According to presiding Judge Bonnie Wittner, she could have sentenced Brooks to 15 years to life, but instead selected the higher punishment, stating that the murder was a “singularly horrific and tragic event”.[24] Since his conviction, Brooks has been housed in Fallsburg, New York, at the Sullivan Correctional Facility.[25]

On 22 March 2018, in a unanimous ruling by the New York Court of Appeals, Brooks lost his final appeal against his murder conviction. The court noted that both security camera footage and the presence of Brook’s DNA in the hotel bathroom placed him at the Soho House directly before the discovery of Cachay’s body.[26] He will be eligible for parole in 2038.[27]


  1. ^ Buettner, Russ (2013-09-23). "Designer's Boyfriend Is Sentenced in Killing at Soho House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  2. ^ Buettner, Russ (2013-07-11). "Guilty Verdict in Killing at Soho House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  3. ^ a b Whalen, Bernard; Messing, Philip; Mladinich, Robert (2019-11-28). El crimen en Nueva York (in Spanish). RBA Libros. p. 303. ISBN 978-84-9187-536-9.
  4. ^ a b "Crime Scene - Sylvie Cachay dies; boyfriend charged". Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  5. ^ "Songwriter's son faces swimsuit model murder charge". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  6. ^ "Death at Soho House". Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  7. ^ "Fashion designer Sylvie Cachay found dead in Manhattan hotel bath". the Guardian. 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  8. ^ "The Curious Case of Joseph and Nicholas Brooks and the Murder of Sylvie Cachay -- New York Magazine - Nymag". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  9. ^ "Timeline: Investigating the death of designer Sylvie Cachay". Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  10. ^ Buettner, Russ (2013-06-08). "At Murder Trial, Jurors Hear of Turbulent Relationship". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  11. ^ Mcgeveran, Tom. "The Soho House murder, told two ways". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  12. ^ Green, Jonah (2010-12-10). "New Information On Sylvie Cachay's Death". HuffPost. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  13. ^ "Documentary examines Sylvie Cachay murder, Oscar winner's 127 rape accusations". Fox News. 2019-08-22. Retrieved 2021-09-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ Italiano, Laura (2013-06-08). "Swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay had written to-do list for boyfriend before her death". New York Post. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  15. ^ "Son of 'sicko' songwriter grilled after swimsuit designer found dead at Soho House". New York Post. 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  16. ^ Reuters Staff (2010-12-10). "Son of Oscar winner questioned in death of designer". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  17. ^ "Sylvie Cachay Death: Autopsy Inconclusive, Says Medical Examiner". Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  18. ^ "Designer Sylvie Cachay Strangled and Drowned, Autopsy Says". Associated Press. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  19. ^ "Oscar Winner's Son Charged With Strangling Girlfiend in New York City Hotel Room". Associated Press. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2021-09-03.
  20. ^ "Designer Sylvie Cachay's Boyfriend Nicholas Brooks Charged for Death at Soho House". ABC News. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  21. ^ "Murder Trial of Nicholas Brooks: Friends Testify Swimsuit Designer Sylvie Cachay Tried to Break Up With Him". ABC News. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  22. ^ Italiano, Laura (2013-01-21). "Sylvie Cachay sent scorching 'F–k you' e-mail to boyfriend hours before her death". New York Post. Retrieved 2021-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ "Sylvie Cachay Update: Nicholas Brooks, beau convicted in death of NYC designer, gets 25 years to life in prison". Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  24. ^ Gardiner, Sean (2013-09-23). "Nicholas Brooks Sentenced to 25 Years to Life for Drowning Girlfriend Sylvie Cachay". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  25. ^ Kahn, Robert. "Murder at Soho House: How NYC Trust Fund Kid Nicholas Brooks Killed Sylvie Cachay in Cold Blood". A&E. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  26. ^ "Nicholas Brooks loses final appeal of Soho House murder conviction". New York Post. 2018-03-22. Retrieved 2021-09-03.
  27. ^ Sgueglia, Rande Iaboni and Kristina (2013-09-23). "Boyfriend gets maximum sentence in swimsuit designer's murder". CNN. Retrieved 2021-09-01.