The man found dead under a mattress in a Hilton Garden Inn hotel room near Herald Square early on Monday morning may have been a pimp set up by prostitutes for a robbery, according to police. Roderick Goodwin, 28, of Bridgeton, New Jersey, was found beaten and strangled to death around 4 a.m. on Monday morning. Now police think they have a motive, and four suspects, though no arrests have yet been made.
Goodwin had stayed at a different hotel every night in the days before his death, authorities said; one night at a hotel in the Bronx, another hotel in Manhattan and then at the Hilton Garden Inn Sunday night.
According to investigators, he would traditionally send prostitutes out to work and then they would return to the hotel with the money they made during the night.
Detectives believe a prostitute brought three male accomplices back to the hotel room to rob Goodwin, who was known to carry thousands of dollars in cash.
He was killed in the process of the robbery, police said. The prostitute and her three male accomplices then fled.
Several thousands of dollars believed to have been in the possession of the victim were missing at the time his body was found by hotel security.
A safe was taken from the room, police said. New York Times reporters spoke to Goodwin's relatives, and they described him as a fast-living transient who had recently moved back to New Jersey to take care of his three daughters:
Raised in Bridgeton, in southern New Jersey, Mr. Goodwin bounced around between towns and jobs, his relatives said, most recently working for a roofing company in New Orleans.
"Roderick lived wherever," his mother, Arnetta Mack, 51, said. "He was a free spirit."
The police said Mr. Goodwin had a record of arrests dating back to 2002 for assault and drug offenses in New Orleans, Bridgeton and Atlantic City.
"He lived a reckless lifestyle, to be straight up," said his father, Roderick Mack, who lives in New Orleans. He said Mr. Goodwin had been living with him until a few months ago.
The Times also couldn't resist reminding readers that New York was once much rougher, and deaths like this more commonplace:
Details of the killing called to mind the seediness of earlier decades that the Midtown of 2015, with sleek new office towers and swiftly built hotels squeezed into many open lots, has sought to leave behind. Suitcase-toting tourists now crowd into Times Square hotels with addresses that would have once attracted only the most adventurous travelers, undeterred by vermin or vice.
Asked whether it is accurate to describe Goodwin as a pimp, his mother sounded resigned to the ugliness of the whole situation.
"If that's what he wanted to call himself, he can," she said.