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Woman found dead at Biltmore was wife of 'America's Got Talent' contestant

October 25, 2010 |  3:51 pm

The woman found dead at the Biltmore Hotel over the weekend was the wife of a contestant on the show "America's Got Talent," police said.

Laura Finley, 48, a guest at the hotel, was found at the bottom of a stairwell Saturday morning by another guest at the downtown L.A. hotel, authorities said.

Her husband, Joseph, who was scheduled to perform a musical number on the show, reported his wife missing before his audition, but that was several hours after her body had been found. He was unaware that police had found his wife's body when the missing person's report was issued.

"At this point, the death is undetermined," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. "We don't know if it's an accident or a homicide. It appears to be accidental."

Vernon said that at the time of Joseph's audition in the afternoon, he did not know his wife was dead.

Ed Winter, assistant chief at the L.A. County coroner's office, said the death was initially reported as either an accident or a homicide but that the husband has been questioned by police.

For now, the coroner has deferred a determination on the cause of death, pending more tests, Winter said.

LAPD detectives were not available to comment Monday morning.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Robert Faturechi