Man Found Murdered in Chelsea Apartment
CHELSEA — A man was found murdered in his Chelsea apartment Friday night, police said.
John Laubach 57, was discovered bound in bed by duct tape and an electrical cord at roughly 7:53 p.m., at 212 West 22nd St. by a female friend, police and sources said. His face was covered by a towel, sources said.
It was not immediately clear how Laubach was killed, police said, as there were no obvious signs of physical trauma.
Laubach was due to meet up with a friend Friday night, police said. When she called his apartment and got no answer, she became concerned and went over to his fourth-floor apartment. When she found his body, she called 911, police said.
Detectives were investigating whether Laubach was robbed, sources said. His apartment had two entrances — a main entrance and a back door with no doorknob.
Bob Clemens, 57, said Laubach had come to his Christmas party last year with another neighbor and they "seemed like totally cool, fun people." Clemens added that Laubach often went to church with that neighbor.
Clemens said Laubach had not been living in the building for very long, perhaps little over a year.
Neighbors said Laubach was known around the building for having a pet bird, which they described as a white cockatoo. The bird could be heard in his apartment Saturday.
"He was a very nice man. I'm sorry to hear it," said a woman who lived in the building, but declined to give her name. "I feel for the bird now because he's all alone."
Other neighbors were shaken up by the murder.
"It's supposed to be a safe building," said Juan Carlos Andaluz, 24, who's lived in the build since December. "I'm shocked. There are robberies here once in a blue moon, but what do you expect? it's New York after all."
The medical examiner's office will determine the cause of death, police said.
Laubach's a Maryland native who at one point ran a design company that planned events, according to a listing on BizBash.com, a website for event planners.
Laubach & Co was based in a Greenwich Village apartment building along Fifth Avenue. Laubach sold the apartment for $650,000 in July 2010, according to real estate website StreetEasy.com.
BizBash said Laubach's company incorporated a lot of "floral decor for events" and also worked on "lighting and staging for events up and down the East Coast."
The site listed his previous clients as the American Ireland Fund, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Christian Dior.
With reporting by Murray Weiss and Sarah Tan.