A prestigious French scholar in Manhattan for a conference was found nude and dead in his midtown hotel room in suspicious circumstances, according to investigators. Richard Descoings, 53, a member of France's Council of State and director of top French university Sciences Po, was discovered by hotel staffers after they were alerted by colleagues concerned when Descoings failed to show up for a United Nations conference at Columbia University, reports Reuters. His room may have been ransacked, and his cell phone had been tossed out a window, investigators told the New York Daily News.
Robbery appears unlikely, but there were indications that more than one other person was in the room, and that alcohol was consumed, said authorities. "We haven’t ruled out foul play,” said an NYPD spokesman. “We’re investigating the possibility if there was somebody else in the room.” President Sarkozy said yesterday that Descoings "contributed more than anyone of his generation to furthering the prestige of France's higher education system."