Friday, December 19, 2014

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Police Probe Death Of Man Found Bound In Chelsea Apartment

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Police are investigating the death of a 57-year-old Chelsea man who was found bound and gagged Friday night in his apartment.

Officers were called to a building on West 22nd Street shortly before 8 p.m., where they found John Laubach unconscious and unresponsive.

Sources say Laubach's hands were tied to a bed, his hands, feet, and mouth were bound with duct tape, and there was a towel over his face.

His death has been ruled a homicide.

Neighbors described Laubach as a staple in the neighborhood who was often accompanied by a pet parrot.

"He was a nice guy that everyone noticed because he had a parrot on his shoulder," said one building resident. "He was a regular at the coffee shop all the time. He was a really nice guy and it's terrible. A murder in the neighborhood is awful."

Police were seen late Saturday removing the parrot from the building in a carrying case. Officers said it would be taken to the ASPCA.

Neighbor Juan Carlos Andaluz said he was shocked when his roommate told him the news of Laubach's death.

"He texted me that somebody died – he said 'They just killed somebody in the building,'" Andaluz said. "And I said, 'What?!' And I called him immediately because I wanted to find out who it was. Hopefully it wasn't related to a robbery or anything."

"He was well, he was happy," said another tenant. "So it was very sad getting that news when I came home."

Sources say Laubach was originally discovered by a female friend.

The medical examiner is working to determine the cause of death.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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