A Philly psychiatrist whose naked corpse was found in a Gayborhood hotel with a belt wrapped around his neck was the victim of an attempted robbery by a male prostitute, police said.
Dr. Howard Baker, 75, was found dead inside a Rodeway Inn near 12th and Walnut streetson Monday around noon.
Detectives told the media that his wife thought he was in Center Citywatching the Eagles game on Sunday, but he was actually at the Rodeway Inn where he was visited by at least two male visitors.
One of those visitors, Manuel Baez, 27, is a prostitute who has confessed to strangling Baker to death, the Daily News reported.
Police did not respond to requests for comments on how Baez and Baker encountered each other.
Baker was a psychiatrist with offices in Wynnewood and in Center City, just two blocks from where he was found murdered.
According to an online profile of Baker on PsychologyToday.com, which has been taken down since his murder, Baker, who also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, listed his specialties as ADHD, relationship issues and spirituality.
“I begin by trying to understand you as a person, and I’m convinced that you must feel understood,” Baker’s profile stated, adding that treamentwas tailored to each patient. “After initial meetings, we decide how to proceed: perhaps psychotherapy, and we may or may not decide to use medication.”
Baker got his psychiatric degree from UPenn in 1970, according to his profile, and his practice involved some religiousteachings.
“Spirituality’s often an important part of health,” his profile stated. “For a layman, I have pursued extensive religious education. I find this has made me a better therapist for people of all religious traditions, including agnostics and atheists. I’m a liberal Christian, but I will and must respect your faith tradition.”
No one answered the phone at his two office locations. Funeral plans for Baker could not be determined immediately.
Baezhasa long rap sheet and has been convicted of crimes includingtheft, criminal mischief, loitering anddrug possession since 2007.
He was released from a Lehigh County prison last month after being arrested in Allentown in June on drug possession charges, the Daily News reported.
Court records list his hometown as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but Philly police listed him as homeless at the time of Baker’s murder.
His preliminary hearing on murder charges inBaker’s death is scheduled for Jan. 6.