In 1988, 22-year-old Michael Alig appeared on the cover of New York magazine under the headline, "Club Kids." Alig, a high-profile figure in the city's party scene, had formed a group of fellow partygoers called Club Kids. Members of the group wore outlandish outfits, used heroin and danced and drank all night in Manhattan's nightclubs. In 1993, Alig appeared as a guest on Phil Donahue's daytime TV talk show.
On March 17, 1996, in Michael Alig's upper Manhattan apartment, the party ended. The Club Kid and his friend Robert "Freeze" Riggs were negotiating the purchase of heroin from a dealer named Andre "Angel" Melendez. At some point during the transaction, a dispute erupted over money. Robert Riggs resolved the argument by picking up a hammer and striking Melendez on the head. Michael Alig finished the stunned drug dealer off by smothering him to death with a sweatshirt.
After killing their heroin supplier, Alig and Riggs had a problem. What were they going to do with Melendez's body? Until they could come up with a disposal plan, they stored the corpse in Alig's bathtub. In an effort to slow down decomposition, they poured bags of ice over the body. For the smell, the club kids doused the corpse with liquid Drano.
Before Alig and Riggs could inconspicuously transport the body out of the apartment, they would have to make it smaller, more compact. To accomplish that, they sawed off Melendez's legs. After keeping the body in the bathtub for six days, the club kids, in preparation for its removal, wrapped Melendez in a bedsheet, placed that into a large garbage bag, then stuffed the dismembered body into a cardboard box.
During the early morning hours, Alig and Riggs carried the box to the street, hailed a cab, and instructed the driver to drive them and their package south on the Westside Highway that runs parallel to the Hudson River. At about 25th street, the taxi pulled over. As the cab drove off, Alig and Riggs carried the cardboard box to the bridge rail and dropped the dead drug dealer into the river.
A few days after Alig and Riggs dropped corpse into the Hudson River, children playing in the water along Statin Island came across the cardboard box containing the dismembered remains.
The Club Boys were arrested in the spring of 1996 on the charge of murder. In October 1997, both men pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The judge sentenced each defendant to ten to twenty years in prison.
In 2003, a memoir by James St. James, another celebrity Club Kid, was made into the feature film called "Party Monster" starring Macaulay Culkin. Michael Alig was portrayed in the film.
Robert Riggs was released from prison in 2010 after serving 13 years. In 2014, after 17 years behind bars, Michael Alig walked free. During his time in prison, Alig continued using drugs.
In 2017, police arrested Alig in a Bronx park in possession of crystal methamphetamine. A judge placed him on probation.
At three o'clock on Christmas Morning, 2020, Michael Alig's boyfriend called 911 from Alig's 159th Street apartment and reported that his partner had overdosed on heroin. New York City police officers found Michael Alig unresponsive. EMS responders arrived at the scene a few minutes later and pronounced the former Club Kid dead. Alig was 54.