updated 9/20/2009 6:50:55 PM ET 2009-09-20T22:50:55

A housekeeping manager at a luxury New York City hotel next to Central Park has been arrested in the death of a woman found strangled with a knife sticking from her neck.

Police say 29-year-old Derrick Praileu was arrested in the hours after the body of Andree Bejjani was found at Manhattan's Jumeirah Essex House, which is near Broadway and upscale Fifth Avenue shops. The hotel says Praileu was a longtime employee.

There was no answer Sunday at a Bronx telephone number listed for him. Police don't know if he has an attorney.

Police say a maid found the 44-year-old Bejjani face down and naked on the kitchen floor in a condo at the hotel on Saturday. An exercise rope was wrapped around her neck.

The medical examiner's office says she was strangled.

The hotel, which opened in 1931, said in a statement its "heartfelt condolences go out to the victim's family."

Guests at the art deco landmark, which features 509 luxury rooms and suites up to 2,500 square feet, said they didn't know a body had been found until newspaper reporters showed up and started asking questions. But they said they had noticed an increase in security.

Tourist John Carcio of Seattle said he was staying with his wife at the hotel on the same floor where the woman's body was found.

He said they were returning in the afternoon from a visit to the Carnegie Deli, a few blocks away, and were met by police officers upon arriving at their floor.

"We immediately knew something bad had happened," he said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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