At about 8:30 a.m., 38-year-old dermatologist Kiersten Cerveny was found unresponsive in the doorway of a Manhattan apartment building. Cerveny was pronounced dead at the hospital. The police determined that she might have died of a cocaine overdose. The apartment building was about an hour away from where she lived in Long Island. She left behind her husband, also a dermatologist, and several children. Robert Rickenbach, her father, said that she was visiting friends in New York City.
“She was supposed to stay with a friend,” Rickenbach said.
Rod McClave said that he saw his old friend that night. They met up at a Manhattan hotel around 8 p.m. to catch up. He left and made plans with his other friend. He said her death was “very shady”. The police said that she was “doing cocaine” all-night and drinking with two men.
“She was hanging with a few girlfriends. I stopped by the hotel to say hi,” McClave said. He said that she planned a “quiet night on the town.”
McClave said he was unaware that Cerveny had a drug problem “this was so out of character…the whole thing just seems very shady. Only the people who were with her know exactly what happened – but it’s weird.” In fact, many of her friends either said they were unaware or that it was a one time “mistake”. Many of her friends have come forward to discuss the case.
“It was an unfortunate mistake that cost her life, but I want people to lay off that,” said Maria Benvenuti, “She was a loving mother. Everyone goes into the spinning wheel now and then. I never knew her to be involved in that. She was human…”
After catching up with McClave, she left the hotel with her friends and they went to some bars in the Lower East Side before she met up with HBO producer Marc Henry Johnson. The two went to the apartment of James Holder in the Chelsea neighborhood. That was the apartment building she was found outside of. Johnson, 51, and Holder, 60, were reportedly captured on surveillance camera carrying Cerveny’s body down the stairs, according to the Daily Mail. No one has been charged in the case. The police said they do not believe the case is a homicide.
An anonymous source told the New York Post that Johnson was having marital problems with his wife, Marlisa Vinciguerra after a possible domestic violence incident. And other sources said that he had drug issues. Johnson is reportedly the heir to the Parks Sausages fortune, which was founded by his grandfather Henry G. Parks.
Others have pointed to the case as proof that media coverage is disproportionate for people of color and the poor. Her family and friends would certainly like some of the media coverage to go away, however. Friends, family, and community members from her hometown in South Jersey, said they are trying to stay away from the lurid, sensationalistic (most likely false) tales the tabloids are printing. Many tabloids have accused Cerveny of having an affair with Johnson and having a secret “party fueled” double life.