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Woman Found Stabbed To Death At River North Hotel

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Hotel Felix

A woman was found stabbed to death at the Hotel Felix, 111 W. Huron St. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 10/11/11 11:17 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Wisconsin woman was found stabbed to death in a swanky River North hotel early Tuesday, and police continue their investigation.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, officers were called to the Hotel Felix, at 111 W. Huron St., and found the woman unresponsive in a room on the 12th and highest floor at 12:38 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

The woman, identified as Sarai Michaels, 31, of La Crosse, Wis., was dead on the scene, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Michaels was found lying face down on the floor with a 7-inch knife nearby. She had suffered multiple stab wounds, police said.

Police believe the woman was a guest at the hotel.

The incident is being investigated as a homicide, according to police.

Hotel Felix general manager George Jordan said the hotel staff called 911, but police were already on their way.

“This does not appear to be a random event, and I want to stress that. Apparently, these people knew each other,” Jordan said, “and we are of course very saddened by this. Our heart goes out to the victim’s family.”

An officer on the scene said as of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, police were questioning two women and a man who knew Michaels and may know something about the crime, but no one was officially in custody.

Jordan said hotel staff also handed over surveillance video of the common areas at the hotel. The man police are questioning is allegedly on video with Michaels.

“We have a number of cameras that are located in strategic locations around the hotel, and so they capture all movements of all guests that are coming and going to and from elevators and from the entry and egress points, so to the extent it helps police, they’ll use that,” Jordan said.

The hotel room was registered under one name — someone from out of town — but the manager said two key cards were issued.

Guests inside that room called 911 around 12:30 a.m., to report the stabbing.

Hotel guests and neighbors were shocked by the gruesome act Tuesday morning.

“I’m surprised – that’s about it,” said guest John Wong, who said he had heard about the incident on the news.

“It’s pretty upscale; a nice neighborhood too, so I can’t believe that would happen,” said River North resident Bennett Dilly.

“It’s kind of shocking, like, it’s a little nervous knowing that something happened at the hotel you’re staying at,” said hotel guest Sam Swartz.

But hotel management said there’s no need for guests to worry or be fearful.

Police continue to follow leads from the video at the hotel and also from the people they are questioning.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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