The former attorney of an ex-Playboy centerfold says he has no clue what prompted the doting mother to jump from a New York City building with her 7-year-old son on Friday.
Raoul Felder, a New York attorney, says he was devastated when he learned that his longtime friend, 47-year-old Stephanie Adams, jumped to her death from Gotham Hotel in Manhattan with her son, Vincent, around 8:15 a.m.
“She was a very genuine person. A lovely person and very polite. She was very considerate and sweet,” Felder, 81, tells PEOPLE, noting that he served as Adams’ attorney up until four months ago. “I never saw her unhappy. Something must’ve happened in her life, and went haywire.”
Lieutenant John Grimpel, of the New York City Police Department, said the pair’s bodies were found on the second-floor landing of the hotel’s courtyard.
Officials with Gotham Hotel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
Police would not confirm the woman’s identity to PEOPLE, but multiple media outlets, including the New York Post and NBC News 4, reported that the deceased was Adams, a former November 1992 Playboy centerfold.
She reportedly shared the boy, Vincent, with Charles Nicolai, of Wall Street Chiropractic & Wellness. Reports identified Nicolai as Adams’ estranged husband. Staff at the practice declined to comment on the matter.
- Want to keep up on the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
Felder says Adams and Nicolai were engaged in a “tough” custody battle, and Adams wanted to take the boy on a summer vacation to Europe where they would spend time with her new boyfriend. He adds that a judge recently told her she could not take the boy out of the country until she appeared in a hearing to do so.
However, he says, this “mild” incident would not have caused Adams to commit such an act.
“When she left here she was very positive,” Felder tells PEOPLE of the last time he saw her months ago. “Something must’ve taken a nosedive in her psyche.”
Still, he says, he’ll cherish the moments he spent speaking with Adams at his New York office, adding that she’d often bring Vincent.
“He was an adorable child,” Felder says of the boy. “He used to run down the halls here. Very bright, beautiful child. I’m not wrapping my head around this. I never saw her unhappy. Her whole life was wrapped up in the child.”
As for Nicolai, Felder says he rarely saw the doctor, adding that Nicolai and Adams would meet at a precinct to exchange custody of their son.
An attorney for Nicolai did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.