"He wasn't even really walking. He wasn't making sense," Belinda Caban, 53, tells PEOPLE of when Koppel arrived at her modest Washington Heights two-bedroom apartment late Sunday afternoon. "I just thought that he needed to sleep it off."
Koppel, 40, had met Caban's friend, waiter Russell Wimberly, 32, at a bar in midtown earlier that afternoon, and the two spent the day drinking, according to news reports. Wimberly told Caban, "He's out of it right now. I can't take him anywhere else."
The waiter also said Koppel had lost his cell phone in the taxi they had taken up from midtown.
Koppel first sat in a white plastic chair in Caban's living room. Then she told Wimberly, "Put him in the room so he can lie down. Maybe he'll get sober."
She, Wimberly and another friend remained in the apartment for hours while Koppel was in the bedroom, where they first heard him snoring. Sometime after 1:30 a.m. on Monday, however, Wimberly told her that he couldn't wake him up.
"I felt his wrist – he was cold," she said. "I told Russell to call ."
Caban only learned the dead man was the son of a prominent newscaster when reporters later showed up at her apartment.
"I'm sorry it had to happen in my house," says Caban. "I wish the day would come back so I could say, 'Bring him to the hospital.' He's somebody's child. Doesn't matter if the guy is famous or not. Still somebody's child."