The body of a 35-year-old Washington communications layer was found yesterday at the bottom of an elevator shaft in a new building at 1919 Pennsylvania Ave. NW where his firm has its offices.

The victim was identified as Craig S. McCoy, of Alexandria, a specialist in cable television and miscrowave communications law, who was managing partner in the firm of Cole, Zylstra and Raywid.

Authorities said an autopsy will be held today. Partners in the firm said they had no indication that death was due to anything but an accidental fall.

One of the partners speculated that the doors to the elevator shaft may have opened before the elevator car descended to McCoy's floor.

"The only thing we could possibly think of was that he was in a hurry, it was late and the elevator would have had to malfunction," said the partner.Jack Cole. "We speculate that the doors opened and just as a reflext action he began to step in."

McCoy's body was found about I p.m.

McCoy's body was found about I p.m. yesterday by a man working on yesterday by a man working on the elevator, according to police. The lawyer reportedly had last been seen about 11:45 p.m. Friday when he left a banquest the firm had held across the street.

"He apparently had to go [back] to the office for keys or a briefcase, and apparently fell in the shaft in trying to reach the garage [where his car was parked,]" said Alan Raywid, another partner.

The firm which had been at 2011 I St. NW, moved about three weeks ago to offices at 1919 Pennsylvania. Although the offices are on what is designated as the second floor, Raywid said, they are about 3 1/2 stories above the basement.

McCoy was reported missing yesterday morning and members of the firm went to the building to join police in looking for him. Raywid said.

When they arrived, he said, they found the elevator's emergency bell ringing, indicating that a malfunction may have occurred.

A native of Sharon, Pa., and a 1965 graduate of Penn State, McCoy joined the firm as a clerk while still a student at George Washington University law school.

Subsequently, according to Cole, he won recognition as a "preeminent specialist" in microwave communications and was "extremely well known throughout the cable television industry."

McCoy spoke on Thursday to a meeting in Dallas on cable television.

Friday he returned to the office and afterward went to the banquest held for a partner who was leaving the firm.

He "was in tremenous spirits" at the banquet, Cole recalled. "... just the life of the party."

About 1:45 p.m. the other partners left for home. McCoy returned to the office.