A 57-year-old man was found murdered, bound and gagged inside his Chelsea apartment Friday evening. Businessman John Laubach was discovered by a friend bound with duct tape and an electrical cord at his apartment on West 22nd Street and Seventh Avenue. Police say there was no sign of forced entry into the apartment.
With no visible signs of trauma, the city Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death was pending toxicology test results, which could take up to 10 days. Sources said detectives are poring over Laubach’s cellphone and computer to learn whom he was talking to before he was killed, and are exploring the theory that one of his hookups may have resulted in his death, the sources said. They are also exploring the possibility of a home-invasion robbery, the sources said. 'Whoever was involved tried to cover up what he did,' according to a source.
The Post also reports that Laubach frequently hooked up with men in their early 20s, feeding and clothing them. “I don’t know him to have any enemies,” a longtime friend said. “Maybe he picked up the wrong person, who thought he had money."
Laubach, who once worked at Sotheby's and was now a florist, was known by neighbors as a kind and outgoing man who regularly attended church and had recently suffered two strokes.
"He had improved a lot (after the stroke), but not to the extent where he could fight off anyone," Len Bowman, the sexton at the Church of the Ascension on Fifth Ave, where Laubach was a member, told The New York Daily News.
Laubach was also well-known in the neighborhood for carrying a cockatoo named Bolo on his shoulder. Bolo is now in the care of Animal Care and Control.