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Woman's Death on Orchard Street Ruled an Accident

By Julie Shapiro | August 28, 2012 4:01pm | Updated on August 28, 2012 4:45pm

LOWER EAST SIDE — The 29-year-old daughter of the city's former budget director, who was found bleeding in the stairwell of an Orchard Street building Monday morning, died accidentally, city officials said Tuesday.

An autopsy found that Carlisle Brigham, who had worked for the American Museum of Natural History, suffered "blunt impact injuries of the head and neck," a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office said.

The injuries were "consistent with a fall down the stairs," the spokeswoman said.

While police initially believed Brigham had suffered a slash wound to the throat, sources told DNAinfo.com New York that it appeared Brigham had injured herself when she fell down the stairs after drinking.

Brigham was bleeding heavily in the stairwell at 191 Orchard St. when a resident discovered her Monday morning and tried to help.

She was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center in critical condition and later pronounced dead.

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

Earlier in the morning, she called a different male friend and told him, "I am not happy with my life," sources said.

Brigham was married last year to Anthony Champalimaud, who worked in Litchfield, Conn. as a vice president for the hotel division of YTL, a Malaysian conglomerate, according to the New York Times wedding announcement.

Brigham graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. and at the time of the wedding was working as an intern caring for the paleontology collections at the American Museum of Natural History, according to the announcement. She left the museum in April as a model maker, artifact handler and diorama designer, her LinkedIn profile said.

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

Carlisle Brigham's shocked family and friends mourned her on Monday.

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