Respected Dermatologist Found Dead After Cocaine-Fueled Night On The Town

By Keri Blakinger 10/05/15

Kiersten Cerveny was out partying with HBO producer Marc Johnson and his coke dealer, Pepsi.

Kiersten Cerveny
Photo via

New York City dermatologist Kiersten Cerveny was found dead Sunday in a Manhattan apartment building.

Although initially the New York Daily News reported that sources said she appeared to be the victim of a crime, the paper is now reporting that the preliminary autopsy findings are “consistent with cocaine use” and that there is no indication of force in her death.

An unnamed source told the Daily News, “She’s been known to party a little.”

The New Jersey native was a former America’s Junior Miss and a 38-year-old mother of three. Cerveny graduated from Duke and completed medical school at Tulane University and, at the time of her death, was working both as the chief of dermatology at Brooklyn Hospital Center and as the assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Cerveny lived in a million-dollar home on Long Island with her husband Andrew, who was also a dermatologist, and children.

On Saturday, she headed to a downtown Manhattan hotel and started drinking and doing coke with her friends, detectives told the Daily News. By 2 a.m., she was still out hitting bars, but somewhere around 3:30 or 4 a.m., she left with TV producer Marc Johnson and went to Chelsea to meet an alleged drug dealer named James “Pepsi” Holder.

A little before 8:30 a.m., Holder and Johnson were caught on surveillance video dumping Cerveny’s body in the vestibule of a West 16th Street apartment building. Johnson called 911 and waited for paramedics to arrive before leaving the scene.

After questioning, investigators released Johnson and did not charge him with a crime. Reportedly, he told police that he tried to give Cerveny CPR.

The Manhasset mom was not robbed and was found clothed, although her underwear was in her purse. Initially, police investigators thought they’d found suspicious marks on her neck, but later it was revealed that they were just surgery scars.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.