Death of Carlisle Brigham Apparently Accidental

Carlisle Brigham/Facebook.

Police investigators say it appears the death of 29-year old Carlisle Brigham yesterday inside a Lower East Side apartment building was probably a tragic accident.   Her injuries were so severe that police and paramedics initially suspected someone might have slashed her throat.  But NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said last night it’s possible Brigham died after she “struck her chin in a fall down a flight of marble stairs.” Autopsy results likely won’t be available until later today.

Brigham, the daughter of a well-to-do St. Louis family, was separated from her husband, Anthony Champalimaud.  They were married a year ago.  She was staying with a friend at 191 Orchard Street, just below East Houston.  Yesterday police indicated the primary resident of the apartment was being interviewed by police, but was not considered a suspect.  Police yesterday described him as a boyfriend. But today the Daily News reports the two were “platonic” friends.

Carlisle Brigham with husband Anthony Champalimaud; New York Times “Weddings” section; August 2011.

A 19-year old neighbor discovered Brigham on the landing between the first and second floors, and tried to administer CPR before emergency teams arrived about 11 a.m. yesterday. “From the looks of it, it looked like she tripped, ” Mizanur Raham told reporters. “Her bags were just scattered on one corner. She was face-down, like she banged up her head. So it did look like she tripped.”   Various news outlets, including WNBC, indicated Brigham had been drinking heavily in the hours leading up to the apparent accident:

According to a law enforcement official, friends told police that Brigham was at a wedding Sunday and had been drinking heavily, and that she continued to drink with friends when she returned to New York City.  Her friends told detectives she was so intoxicated she fell several times Sunday night and had to be carried at times. Brigham’s roommate told police she was still drinking Monday morning when he left for work, the law enforcement official said.

She was wearing “all white,”  resident Lippy Khair, told the Post, “White top, white pants. And she had really high heels.”  The Post reported that her male friend left the apartment around 9 a.m., but returned to the apartment upon hearing about the tragedy.

James Brigham, the victim’s father, runs a St. Louis investment bank. He was New York budget director under Mayor Ed Koch.  The mayor told the Post yesterday that Mr. Brigham called him following the shocking news. “He was sobbing,’’ Koch said. “He told me that she had died and that it was apparently a fall . . . a freak accident… Wonderful young woman… I just was overwhelmed with grief and still am.”
Carlisle Brigham graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  At the time of her marriage last year, she was working for the Museum of Natural History.