A man hired by a Philadelphia doctor for sex strangled and robbed him inside a Center City hotel room, homicide detectives say.
Manuel Baez, 27, was charged Wednesday with the murder of Dr. Howard Baker. The prominent 75-year-old psychiatrist was found dead Monday morning, sitting naked on the floor of his fifth floor hotel room at the Rodeway Inn at 1208 Walnut Street. A belt was tied tightly around his neck and his backpack and wallet were stolen, police said.
Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. James Clark tells NBC10 that Baez confessed to the crime after being taken into custody Tuesday night.
Baez was homeless and sold his body for sex, according to Clark, an act that Baker allegedly paid for Sunday evening.
Baker checked into the hotel Sunday afternoon after telling his wife he was heading out to watch the Eagles game.
Baez was one of two men caught on surveillance video visiting Baker's hotel room that night. He left the hotel alone, but with Baker's belongings, police said. The doctor's body was found the next day. The other visitor was not involved in the murder.
Investigators said Baker's family had no idea he had checked into the hotel. The married father lived in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and had practices in Center City, two blocks from the hotel, and Wynnewood.
He was allegedly carrying the doctor's backpack and his wallet containing credit cards and about $100 in cash.
The murder went undiscovered until late the next morning when a housekeeper entered the room after Dr Baker failed to check out and found his lifeless, naked body with a belt tied around his neck.
Responding officers reportedly found sex toys in the hotel room, according to local TV station 6ABC, prompting initial suggestions it was a solo auto-asphyxiation sex act gone wrong.
However an autopsy determined the cause of death to be strangulation and Baez was arrested Tuesday after he was identified from surveillance footage.
'He gave a full confession," Homicide Capt. James Clark told the Philadelphia Inquirer. 'During whatever was going on inside of the room, he made the decision that he was going to kill and rob him. And that's what he did.'
Detectives said Mrs Baker, also a prominent psychiatrist and author of the financial self-help book, Crazy About Money, had no idea her husband had checked into a hotel Sunday.
The elderly couple shared a four-bedroom, $900,000 home in upscale Wynnewood, Pennsylvania where she is being comforted by their two adult sons Nick and Alex.
A family member who came to the door told Daily Mail Online that none of them wished to comment on the tragedy.