NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A body found at a Queens hostel on 77th Street has been confirmed to be the missing head chef from Cipriani Dolci Grand Central who had not been seen or heard from in four days.
Andrea Zamperoni left the popular restaurant around 9 p.m. Saturday and was supposed to return to work Monday afternoon, but he never showed up for his shift.
Police sources told CBS2 the 33-year-old’s body was wrapped in a blanket on the floor when found, “as if someone was going to dispose of it,” but a woman led the police to it first. There were no obvious signs of trauma to the body.
Police were called to the Kamway Lodge in Elmhurst, Queens, on Wednesday around 8:30 p.m., reports CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
The hostel where the body was found, located blocks from Zamperoni’s apartment on 74th Street, is a known trouble spot for drugs and prostitution, according to neighbors.
According to police, so far this year there have been 25 calls to 911 from the hostel, eight criminal reports for thefts and controlled substances, and two arrests as results of search warrants carried out at the location.
Security video exclusively obtained by CBS2 shows the response Wednesday night at the Kamway Lodge after police were called about an unconscious man on the first floor. The body was removed from the building around 1 a.m.
The security video also captures a woman in handcuffs being escorted into a police vehicle.
“When I entered last night, we had to be escorted back into our rooms by the cops cause all my stuff was in there, and once we were in we couldn’t leave, so I had to stay the night,” said Avery Mullen, a tourist from Scotland staying at the hostel.
“There was a scuffle involving multiple people on the first floor,” he said.
Police are still calling the death suspicious due to the undetermined cause. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death and noted the investigation was ongoing.
Man dead at Kamway Lodge in Queens. Police responded last night- officers still there this morning. Tourist staying at this hostel says he was told there was some sort of fight on first floor. @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/kwW3ScCYHf
— Alice Gainer (@GainerTV) August 22, 2019
On Thursday afternoon, the Cipriani family issued the following statement:
“We have sadly learned that Andrea Zamperoni, a well-respected and beloved member of the Cipriani team for many years, who went missing last Sunday has been found deceased.
His brother is overcome with grief and regrets he will not be available to provide any comments. We will keep Andrea’s family in our thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy during this difficult time.
Andrea was a responsible, good-hearted, kind and very hard-working individual who will be deeply missed by all of us. We trust the NYPD is exerting all efforts to investigate and bring clarity to this tragic situation.”
“By the time he didn’t show up to work at 1 in the afternoon, we really started to worry,” Cipriani manager Fernando Dallorso told CBS2 before the body was discovered.
Friends and coworkers said Zamperoni has worked at the restaurant for more than a decade and his disappearance is very concerning.
“So strange about this particular case because he’s not a guy that goes out or parties or whatever, he’s a hard worker,” said Dallorso.
“He’s always the first one to call if he’s a minute late,” said sous chef Manuel Ignacio Albo.
His twin brother, who is a chef at Cipriani in London, flew to New York to help in the search prior to the discovery in Queens.
“He talks to his mom every day in Italy. All of a sudden, his mom calls me Monday asking me where her son is,” Ignacio said. “His passport is still inside his apartment, and he’s here on a work visa, that’s the only documentation he has. So how can he be going anywhere without his passport?”
One of Zamperoni’s roommates said he recently moved in and didn’t know the chef well.