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Woman's Death on Orchard Street May Have Been an Accident

By  Murray Weiss Trevor Kapp Elizabeth Hagen and Ben Fractenberg | August 27, 2012 1:09pm | Updated on August 27, 2012 5:41pm

LOWER EAST SIDE — The 29-year-old daughter of a former New York City budget director who had worked for the American Museum of Natural History died after she was found bleeding profusely Monday morning in the stairwell of an Orchard Street apartment building.

Carlisle Brigham was discovered on the steps with wounds to her neck and face at 191 Orchard St., between East Houston and Stanton streets, the NYPD and the FDNY said. Police said she suffered a slash wound to her throat, but sources told DNAinfo.com New York that her death may have been a tragic accident from a fall.

"We're all devastated," said relative Barbara Brigham, 66, of Hilton Head, S.C. "She was a wonderful young woman. It's unbelievable."

Carlisle Brigham, a transplant from St. Louis, Mo., was estranged from her husband and was staying in the Orchard Street building with a male friend, sources said.

Sources said she had been drinking Monday morning and called another male friend to tell him, "I am not happy with my life."

The friend then left work and rushed back to the building. When he got there, the police were already on the scene, sources said.

Brigham was married a year ago to Anthony Champalimaud, according to a New York Times wedding announcement, which said he worked as the vice president for acquisition, strategy and development for the hotel division of YTL, a Malaysian conglomerate.

At the time of her wedding she was described as an intern who helped care for the paleontology collections at the American Museum of Natural History. Her LinkedIn profile, however, said she left the museum as a model maker, artifact handler and diaroma designer in April.

Champalimaud, who sources said was away on business in London, received a master’s in real estate development from Columbia University, according to the Times wedding announcement. It said Brigham graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

Her father, James R. Brigham Jr., was the chairman of the New York City Public Development Corporation from 1981 to 1985 and from was the city's budget director from 1978 to 1981, as the city was recovering from its fiscal crisis, the announcement noted.

Police sources said it appeared that Brigham had fallen on the steps, cutting the side of her head and neck, and was bleeding heavily when she was found by a neighbor. It wasn't immediately clear whether she was cut by the stairs or by shattered glass, sources said.

"I saw blood. My heart started beating really fast," said Mizanur Rahman, 19, who's lived in the building his whole life and had never seen Brigham before Monday.

He said she was covered in blood, and tried to help her.

Rahman said she had with her what appeared to be a weekend bag full of clothes and two smaller bags. There was an iPhone charger lying next to her.

"She had blood on her face," said Lippy Khair, 27, who lives on the third floor of the building.

"The only thing I saw was there was a body lying down with blood," she added. "Nobody heard nothing."

Police do not believe foul play was involved, sources said, nor do they think she killed herself.

Brigham was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center in critical condition, officials said.

She was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.

No weapon was recovered from the scene, sources said.