- Associated Press - Monday, January 3, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - An Academy Award-winning songwriter’s son has been indicted on a murder charge in the death of his swimsuit designer girlfriend, who was found in a posh hotel bathtub, according to court records that show the upgraded charges.

Nicholas Brooks is due in court Tuesday to answer the murder charge. He initially had been charged with attempted murder and strangulation after Sylvie Cachay was found dead at the SoHo House hotel on Dec. 9.

Since his arrest, medical examiners have ruled the 33-year-old Cachay’s death a homicide, determining she was strangled and drowned. The murder indictment was filed after a grand jury vote last week.

Brooks‘ lawyer had no immediate comment Monday. He previously has said Cachay was “absolutely fine” when Brooks last saw her at the SoHo House, an elite club and hotel known for hosting celebrities.

Brooks is the 24-year-old son of “You Light Up My Life” writer Joseph Brooks, who is fighting separate charges of forcing himself on 13 women.

Nicholas Brooks had been dating Cachay for about six months before her body was found in an overflowing tub at the hotel.

But a lawyer for her family has said she was trying to break up with him _ and Manhattan prosecutors have said a letter found in her purse showed he hadn’t accepted that the relationship was ending.

The couple had gone to the hotel together, possibly because of a small fire in Cachay’s apartment earlier that week, police said. But Brooks left the hotel about 45 minutes before hotel staffers found her body around 3 a.m. He told investigators he had gone for drinks with an acquaintance, police said.

Besides a hotel employee who was briefly in Cachay’s room to deliver ice _ with Brooks meeting the worker in the hallway to escort the employee in _ no one else was seen entering between 12:30 a.m. and the time her body was discovered, according to court papers.

Cachay’s relatives were traveling and wouldn’t comment Monday on the murder indictment, said their lawyer, Susan Karten.

Cachay, who grew up in both the U.S. and Peru, worked for Victoria’s Secret before leaving in 2006 to start her own swimsuit line. She lost her backing during the recession and had recently returned to working at fashion houses.

If convicted, Brooks could face up to life in prison.

His arrest came about 18 months after his 72-year-old father was arrested on charges of molesting a series of women lured to his Manhattan apartment for supposed acting auditions. Joseph Brooks has pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges.

He won an Academy Award for best original song for the 1977 ballad “You Light Up My Life,” sung by Debby Boone, and he wrote and directed the movie of the same name. It is about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director.

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