The son of a 38-year-old woman found dead in a Manhattan hotel, with a bloody iron near her head, has revealed that she had been “nervous” in the days preceding her death. Denisse Oleas-Arancibia was found in her hotel room by a maid at SoHo 54 Hotel around 10:30 am on Thursday.
Authorities found her in an unresponsive state with facial trauma, and she was pronounced dead at the scene by Emergency Medical Services, as per the police statement. Her son, 18-year-old Edwin Cevallos, revealed that he last spoke to his mother the day before her death and he noticed something different about her in the days preceding her death.
The cause of death is yet to be officially determined by the medical examiner, but detectives are treating the case as a potential homicide.
The woman had sustained a head injury, believed to be from blunt force trauma.
As of now, no arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing, according to the NYPD.
The victim had been a guest at the three-star hotel on Manhattan’s Watts Street near Sixth Avenue for several days, as reported by the New York Post.
“In the week [before] she was like, sad. She was so nervous and she was worried,” Cevallos, her grieving son, told the New York Daily News in Spanish, though he’s not sure if that had any connection to her death.
Cevallos did not know what work his mother did but mentioned that she left for Manhattan every day at 2 pm for work, as she tried to pursue the American Dream after immigrating from her native Ecuador. In Ecuador, one of her other sons and several family members still live.
“I am in shock. I can’t believe this happened. This is surprising,” Cevallos added. “Everything here in New York reminds me of her. Everything.”
Police Still Confused
According to neighbors, Cevallos had been living with Oleas-Arancibia and her young nephew in an apartment in Queens.
“My mom, she worked very hard,” Cevallos said. “She was working all day. She was always working for us to give us the best life in this country.”
Cevallos mentioned that he had been waiting for his mother to come down on Thursday morning. When he still didn’t see her by 1 pm, he decided to call the police.
An officer subsequently visited his home to deliver the heartbreaking news. Oleas-Arancibia arrived in America five years ago, with her son joining her in New York two years later.
“I want (people to know) that she was always helping people. She was a very good person. She never hurt anybody. She was always paying for everything. She never owed money to anybody. She was always looking to help them move forward,” he said.
Cevallos said that his mother, whom he described as cheerful and always enjoying life, had achieved a significant portion of the American dream for him. “She wanted a better life because in Ecuador is a lot of bad people. It was so dangerous,” he said. “She gave us the life that we always wanted.”
His last interactions with his mother highlighted their close bond, as she had prepared breakfast for him on Wednesday morning and even paid for his haircut at the barber.
“Goodbye, I love you,” she had said as Cevallos left for school that day and gave him the sign of the cross.
Victoria Marinucci, a guest who stayed in the room next to where Oleas-Arancibia’s body was found, described the scene at the hotel.
“The manager was banging and screaming, ‘Hello? Hello? Hello?'” Marinucci, who is visiting New York from Los Angeles, said. “Then there were detectives everywhere.”
The hotel was filled with guests who had chosen to stay there, particularly for New York Fashion Week.
“It was really scary. We knew that the person didn’t make it.”