Philip Seymour Hoffman lay dead on his side on the bathroom floor clad in a T-shirt and shirts, a hypodermic needle sticking out of his left arm.
In the trash, police found five empty heroin envelopes. Nearby were two full envelopes.
Some of the envelopes were marked in purple with an Ace of Spades. Others were stamped with an Ace of Hearts. Narcotics cops immediately set to determining which dope dealers use those brand names.
In the disordered fourth floor apartment, 4-D, on Bethune Street in Greenwich Village were photos of the 46-year-old actor’s three young kids. Police say that he was supposed to pick them up at their mother’s apartment for some time with their dad, but he had failed to show.
“That was not like him,” one police official said.
The children’s mother had contacted somebody who works with Hoffman. This person had gone to the apartment around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. A call to 911 brought the police at 11:36 a.m., joined by paramedics, who pronounced him dead.
Hoffman was left as he still was four hours later, when the Crime Scene Unit pulled up outside. Forensic investigators entered the building to begin a ritual that would have been the same no matter who had died in these circumstances.
Investigators from the Medical Examiner’s office had already performed their own ritual and waited for the police to finish before removing the body. An autopsy will be followed by drug screens.
Among those who came by the scene was a woman who police described as Hoffman’s girlfriend, with whom he is said to have been living until recently. His new residence, rented for $11,000 a month, still has the same of the previous tenant on the doorbell. The girlfriend departed in shock as small crowds stood at each end of the closed-off block.
At other times, these spectators had thrilled to Hoffman’s talent on the screen. They now waited to see his body being carried out on a day when he was supposed to see his kids.