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US ambassador’s daughter dies in NYC fall

Associated Press / August 28, 2010

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NEW YORK — A 17-year-old girl whose father is the US ambassador to Thailand slipped off her shoes and stepped out onto the ledge of a Manhattan high-rise apartment with a camera before plummeting more than 20 stories to her death, police said.

Nicole John fell about 4:15 a.m., apparently from the top floor of the 25-story Herald Towers, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. She was found on a third-floor ledge with severe trauma to her body after people across the street saw her fall.

Her death was believed to be an accident. John was believed to have been drinking, and Ilan Nassimi, 25, who rents the apartment, was arrested yesterday on charges of unlawful dealing with a minor, police said.

John was an incoming freshman at Parsons The New School for Design and lived in Manhattan’s East Village. She and others had been out earlier at a club, leaving around 2 a.m. to go to the apartment on West 34th Street near the Empire State Building, Kelly said.

Police believe the apartment might have been cleaned up by the time investigators arrived, but they think about a dozen people had been there drinking.

John had a fake ID from Brazil that gave her age as 23 or 24. The medical examiner was scheduled to perform an autopsy and toxicology tests today.

The girl’s father, Eric John, was appointed US ambassador to Thailand in 2007. A spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Bangkok, Kristin Kneedler, had no immediate comment.

The camera was found with her body, but it wasn’t clear whether she stepped out onto the ledge to take a photo.

The building manager was called by someone in the apartment who found the body, police said, and witnesses on the street also called 911.

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