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Ex-Boyfriend, Suspected in Slaying of Executive, Found Dead

April 8, 1994

NEW YORK (AP) _ An investment bank executive was shot to death as she dropped off laundry at a dry cleaner, and the suspect, an ex-boyfriend she had accused of harassment, was later found dead.

Sarah Auerbach, a 35-year-old vice president at Salomon Brothers, died Thursday on the floor of the cleaner’s shop on a busy commercial block in the city’s Brooklyn borough, said police spokesman Lt. Raymond O’Donnell. She had been shot in the head at point-blank range.

Police said the body of the suspect, Rick Varela, was found early today on a park bench on a promenade facing the Manhattan skyline. He held a .380- caliber semiautomatic in his hand and had been shot once in the head.

Varela, 50, worked in the management consulting division at another prominent company, the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, said company spokesman Mort Myerson.

Witnesses told police that a man possibly wearing a wig stole up behind Auerbach, held a gun to her head and fired several shots. Police found six 9 mm shell casings, which could have been used in a .380-caliber gun.

A car seen leaving the scene, traced by a license plate number provided by witnesses, had been rented by Varela, police said.

Auerbach met Varela last year while trying to sublet an apartment. She contacted police at least three times after they broke up complaining Varela had been stalking and harassing her, police said.

On Nov. 19, Auerbach told police Varela had raped her at knifepoint after talking his way into her apartment by telling her his father had died. She refused to press charges.

Less than a week later, Auerbach filed a harassment complaint, saying Varela had shown up at her office in the World Trade Center. She filed a similar complaint again in February.

There was no record she ever sought a restraining order, police said.

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