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Police look into facts of balcony death

INDUSTRY, Calif., Nov. 20 -- Los Angeles County authorities took another look Wednesday at the case of a Houston woman who fell to her death from a hotel balcony last week while she was allegedly having sex with her boss. Friends and family of Sandra Orellana, 27, who deny she was having an affair with her boss, Robert Salazar, told authorities she was on the verge of filing sexual harassment charges against Salazar when she died. Salazar, 33, was arrested on suspicion of murder for Orellana's death but subsequently released for lack of evidence. He has since returned to Houston to his wife and two children. Orellana's body was discovered a week ago by a maid at the Industry Hills Sheraton Hotel, where Salazar and Orellana were staying while in town from Houston on a business trip, authorities said. An investigation led police to Salazar, 33, who later claimed the pair had been drinking and were having sex on the hotel balcony when she pushed herself up on the railing in an attempt to change positions. In the process, Salazar said Orellana fell eight stories to her death. The Houston businessman said he failed to notify police because he panicked, deciding rather to go to bed in his adjacent room. However, Deputy Bob Stoneman said there were inconsistencies in Salazar's story and he was kept in jail for a couple of days, but the district attorney at first did not believe there was enough evidence to convict him, so he was released.

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Now, detectives are trying to discover whether Orellana 'physically could have gone over the rail as her companion said she did.' Using a dummy fashioned from a fire hose, authorities tried Wednesday to duplicate the fall over the 46-inch high railing to the concrete below. During the re-enactment, criminalists rappelled down the side of the building and took pictures of the fall while looking for evidence that Orellana may have left as she plunged to her death. Meanwhile, other Los Angeles detectives were in Houston to get background information on the relationship between Orellana and Salazar following reports that Orellana had been having problems at work and considered filing sexual harassment charges against Salazar.

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