EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ted Koppel's Son Dead For 4 Hours While Friends Chatted In Next Room

Jun. 1 2010, Published 5:32 a.m. ET

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The son of former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel lay dead in a seedy New York City apartment for FOUR HOURS while friends chatted and watched television, according to a woman who was in the room and spoke exclusively to

Belinda Caban, 53, who lives at the apartment, said paramedics told her 40-year-old Andrew Koppel had been dead for hours before they arrived at the Washington Heights complex.

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They found him unconscious lying in a pool of his own feces.

Caban provided extensive and exclusive details to about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Andrew’s death. She revealed what happened when her friend Russell Wimberly brought Andrew to her apartment Monday and she also dispelled growing rumors that Wimberly and Andrew were gay.

“Russell knocked on my door and I let him in,” Caban recalled to

“I said, ‘What’s wrong with your friend,’ to which Russell said, ‘Oh well, he is drunk.’ He said they had just come from the bar.

“Andrew wasn’t coherent... I did not understand a word he was saying.

“I said to Russell, ‘He needs to sleep it off. Let him rest.’ We put him down into a chair and then I decided he needed to lay down, so we brought him into a bedroom.

“He was snoring, so things went back to normal. Russell came and sat with me, talked and we watched television.

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“The idea was to have him rest and then have him go home. That’s all I wanted.”

Hours later, Caban and Wimberly went into the bedroom and discovered Koppel had urinated and defecated in the bed and appeared not to be breathing. They called 911.

“We picked him up and he flopped right down,” Caban told

“At this stage, we are all looking at this guy and we realized something is wrong. His complexion was pale. ‘Something is wrong,’ I said. Something is wrong.”

Caban said it took paramedics up to an hour to arrive at the apartment, which is deep in New York City’s Hispanic community.

“We even called back,” she told

But the Fire Department told that they received a call at 1:52 am and arrived at 1:55 am, casting doubt on Caban’s time frame.

“When the paramedics came, they told me he had been dead for four hours,” Caban told “He had been in the apartment for six hours.”

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Caban described Wimberly as one of her friends but denied that he was romantically involved with Koppel.

“Everybody is asking me that question, is Russell gay and was that somehow involved,” Caban told

“My friend is not gay. He is not gay. He is a really nice guy.

“This is New York City, everybody goes out, has fun, meet friends and hang out.”

Koppel was declared dead at the scene on Monday.

The legendary newsman’s son, who lived in Queens with his girlfriend and daughter, started boozing at Smith's Bar and Restaurant in Hell's Kitchen on Sunday afternoon.

He went to several other locations with Wimberly, 32.

Koppel had been drinking straight whiskey, Wimberly reportedly told investigators, who say there are no immediate signs of criminal activity.

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Later that night, Koppel went to Wimberly’s Audobon Ave. apartment.

He was wearing a plaid button-down shirt, jeans and a straw hit with a ribbon around it. He was also wearing glasses, Caban said.

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The medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death. An autopsy was performed Monday but results were pending further tests, including toxicology and tissue testing.

Koppel was the third youngest of Ted Koppel's four children with his wife, Grace Anne. He was their only son.

His father, former anchor of ABC's nigh-time news program, has not yet commented.

The death of Koppel was the latest in a series of alcohol-related incidents that marked his life.

He was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 1994 for punching out a U.S. Senate aide during an argument at a Capitol Hill automated teller machine.

At the time, he was a student at Georgetown Law School.



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