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Sources: Man held in Gold Coast hotel slaying left cell phone behind

The Whitehall Hotel 105 E. Delaware Monday August 13 2012 where woman was found dead inside one guest rooms. |

The Whitehall Hotel at 105 E. Delaware, Monday, August 13, 2012 where a woman was found dead inside one of the guest rooms. | Dom Najolia~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 18, 2012 6:14AM

Police have taken into custody a man they suspect killed a 22-year-old prostitute in a Gold Coast luxury hotel — and left his cell phone behind, sources said Thursday.

The 28-year-old man was among several people detectives were interviewing in connection with Brianna Gardner’s fatal shooting, police said. She was found with a bullet wound to her head at 10 a.m. Monday in a room at the Whitehall Hotel at 105 E. Delaware Pl.

Detectives believe the man was a customer of Gardner. The motive for the shooting remains unclear.

Police believe she was shot about five hours before her body was found, based on witness statements.

Gardner was arrested on a prostitution charge on Aug. 8 in Chicago. She was on the sidewalk soliciting men in cars and on foot about 3:20 a.m. at 25 W. Hubbard, police said. She also was charged with prostitution in April in Harris County, Texas.

Sources said police found two cell phones in Gardner’s hotel room. One was hers and the other belonged to the man taken into custody in the slaying. The Humboldt Park man is on parole for a drug conviction, the sources said.

The killing shocked patrons of the Whitehall — hailed as one of the “great small hotels in the United States.”

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