A homeless male prostitute has been arrested for the strangulation death of a prominent Philadelphia psychiatrist, Philly TV stations WCAU and WPVI reported Wednesday.
Manuel Baez, 27, was charged with killing the 75-year-old Dr. Howard Baker at a Center City Rodeway Inn. Baker had told his wife he was going out to watch a Philadelphia Eagles game on Sunday. His body was found in the hotel room on Monday when a cleaning woman went into his room after he did not check out.
“When she opened the door she found him lying on the floor face up, naked, with a leather belt wrapped tightly around his neck,” WPVI reported. His cause of death was strangulation.
Surveillance footage showed two men visiting Baker’s room that night, but Baez left early Monday morning, carrying Baker’s wallet and backpack, police told WPVI.
Police say when they arrested Baez Tuesday, he told them Baker paid for his services and he confessed to the murder, WCAU reported.
Baker, of Wynnewood, Penn., was a father and had a practice in his hometown and in Center City, two blocks from the hotel. He practiced psychiatry for 30 years, according to WCAU and specialized in relationship problems, ADHD and spirituality.
Sexual strangulation deaths have been known to occur accidentally, as some claim reducing oxygen during sex heightens pleasure, but according to police, in Baker’s death it was not the case. Baez “gave a full confession,” Homicide Capt. James Clark told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“During whatever was going on inside of the room, he made the decision that he was going to kill and rob him. And that’s what he did.”