Why did former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams murder her son before committing suicide? Here's all you need to know
On Friday, a former model and Playboy Playmate committed suicide after killing her 7-year-old son by taking a leap from a Midtown hotel penthouse in the midst of a custody battle for her child with her husband, according to The Post.
Law enforcement authorities reported that a guest of the Gotham hotel found the bodies of Stephanie Adams and her son Vincent on the second floor of the establishment.
The 47-year-old had locked horns with her chiropractor husband, Charles Nicolai, in a court battle over the custody of their son. On Tuesday, Nicolai filed a motion for sole custody of the seven-year-old. William Beslow, his lawyer, said that this was when the dispute got a lot harsher.
According to a longtime friend, a judge on Wednesday had denied Adams permission for taking Vincent along with her to Spain, where her boyfriend resides, for the summer.
At around 1 pm on Thursday, the former model called up The Post's Richard Johnson remonstrating against the court ruling. Johnson had no idea what Adams, who was Playboy magazine’s Miss November in 1992, was about to do.
“All I want to do is take my son and get away from this nightmare for a few days,” she said in the two-minute phone call, “but they won’t let me.”
The judge had even asked to hand over Vincent's passport to make sure she did not defy the court order.
According to Beslow, Nicolai, for whom his son was "the center of his life", was in a "total state of shock" over the deaths of both Adams and Vincent.
“He’s numb, as one would expect,” the lawyer said.
On Thursday at around 6 pm, when Adams checked into the 25th-floor penthouse suite at the lavish boutique hotel on East 46th Street, she had brought her son along with her.
The mother-son duo did not leave the room even once until the next morning, when she would do the inconceivable.
“I suspect the boy went first. The mother just tossed the child out first, then followed him. [Guests] said they heard a light sound first, then a heavier sound,’’ said a bell captain at the hotel, named Shaun L. “I’m still shook up about it.’’
Upon preliminary investigation, authorities did not find a suicide note left by the former model.
Friends and lawyers of Adams said that Vincent had always been the apple of their eye.
“This boy was her whole life. This is terrible,” said a friend of Adams. She also informed that Adams had home-schooled her child to keep him close to her.
“She was so close to that child. She wouldn’t even let [him] go to school,” the friend said. “People have these lives you don’t even know about. I didn’t see suicide.”
A friend of Nicolai said that he was “an amazing, caring father.”
“I can remember him talking about when his son first learned to read. He was a very excited father, very proud,” the friend said. “I do know that he was very distraught and very saddened by the breakup of [his] marriage.”
Back in 2017, the former Playboy Playmate filed for divorce from Nicolai and sought child support. Nicolai owns Wall Street Chiropractic and Wellness on Broadway in the Financial District.
Sources said that the couple's marriage had always been turbulent with Adams filing at least three complaints of child abuse against Nicolai. However, according to court documents obtained by The Post, all were concluded to be "unfounded" by child-welfare officials.
Court records show that the chiropractor was arrested on February 9 after the former model claimed that he fed Vincent foods that he was clinically allergic to. However, once again, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute Nicolai.
Beslow maintained that Nicolai was "as pure as they come.”
“He was very patient in the system. We never made a motion until the other day, when we had to,” he said, referring to the custody request made by him.
“He’d never do anything to rile her up. He always had to pacify and placate her.”
On the other hand, Adams was riddled with personal problems in recent months. Her longtime friend has even advised her to seek medical help for her emotional episodes.
“She was happy; she wasn’t depressed. But she was unrealistic in her goals,” he explained.
She also added that the former model's legal bills were skyrocketing, considering that she had hired her fourth divorce lawyer in a year.
Daniel Kron, the Playmate's most recent divorce lawyer, called the incident “a complete shock and unanticipated.’’
Back in 2013, Adams told The Post that she was not just a pretty face on a magazine cover.
“The stereotypes are sexist and unfair,” Adams, who was once represented by the Elite and Wilhelmina modeling agencies, said at the time.
“Just because I look a certain way and have expensive tastes, it doesn’t mean I’m shallow. Style and looks don’t mean lack of brains, sweetheart!”