September 21st, 2009
06:20 PM ET

Employee held in slaying at posh New York hotel


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/09/21/new.york.hotel.slaying/art.essex.house.gi.jpg]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

An employee of a luxurious New York hotel has been arrested in connection with the slaying of a woman in one of the hotel's residential condominiums, police say.

Derrick Praileau, 29, faces second-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Andree Bejjani, 44.

Police said Bejjani, who was originally from Lebanon, had moved to New York from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and had been staying in a residential condominium at the Jumeirah Essex House since August.

Bejjani's nude body was found Saturday afternoon on the 10th floor of the hotel on Central Park South. Her throat was slashed, authorities said. Police have not revealed a suspected motive for the slaying.

"This incident occurred in one of the private condominiums at The Essex House complex," the hotel said in a statement provided to CNN. "Our sincere condolences go out to the victim's family and we have offered our full support during this difficult time."

The statement continued: "We understand that a hotel employee has been arrested pending charges in conjunction with this incident. We continue to fully cooperate with the police throughout their investigation."

A message left with Praileau's defense attorney was not returned.

The hotel referred to Praileau only as an employee, but the New York Daily News said he was its housekeeping manager, citing Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The 44-story Essex House opened in 1931, a landmark Art Deco building. It recently underwent a $90 million renovation.

The hotel has more than 500 luxury rooms and suites, along with several privately-owned residences. One six-room unit is currently on the market for $8.25 million.

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For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Donna Wood Lil' Tennessee

    You are absolutely right Annie Kate! As long as there are people like this left to run amongst us we are not safe anywhere. I just don't see too many of us surviving. I know that is awfully pessimistic but it feels true!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    September 22, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  2. Annie Kate

    You can be murdered anywhere – doesn't matter it seems if you are in a safe neighborhood or not or even in your own home.

    September 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  3. me

    You should investagate her business dealings. Who paid him to kill her or who set him up!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  4. Ratna, New York, NY

    And I thought that it would have been safer to move to that neighborhood!!!!!

    September 21, 2009 at 7:57 pm |