On the evening of May 17, 2018, former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams checked into the 25th-floor penthouse of the Gotham Hotel in midtown Manhattan with her seven-year-old son Vincent.
The ex-pinup girl had to do some heavy thinking, sort things out in her head, decide what to do next. Her career had gone from modeling for teen magazines to the November 1992 Playboy Playmate to published author and CEO of a skincare company. But on this night, her only concern was her son.
Stephanie and her ex-husband, New York chiropractor Charles Nicolai, were involved in a nasty custody battle over the boy.
Stephanie wanted to take Vincent to Europe for a summer vacation. She had planned for them to leave the following week. But Nicolai filed with the court to stop her. The judge denied Stephanie’s request to travel. The Europe trip was off.
After a sleepless night, just after eight o’clock on the morning of the 18th, Stephanie had decided what to do. She opened the window of the hotel and stared down at the rear courtyard 250 feet below.
“The mother must have pushed the child out first, then she followed,” the bell captain told police afterwards. “Guests said they heard a light thudding sound first, then a heavier sound.”
Mother and son were found dead on a second-floor balcony in the courtyard. She was 46. The boy had his whole life ahead of him. Vincent meant the world to her, friends said, and with her ex-husband trying to gain custody, Stephanie knew she couldn’t live without him.
And on that fateful morning, she couldn’t die without him.
The New York City Medical Examiner ruled her death a suicide and her son’s a homicide.
”I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Stephanie’s longtime friend and former attorney Raul Felder. “She was a very genuine person. A lovely person. To do this to a little boy. Something must have taken a nosedive in her psyche.”