NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman has been arrested and charged in the death of a prominent New York City chef after his body was found at a Queens hostel.
Prosecutors say she’s a prostitute who is also linked to two other recent deaths, accused of giving them lethal doses of drugs, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported Monday.
Surveillance footage shows a woman, believed to be 41-year-old Angelina Barini, taken in for questioning at the Kamway Lodge in Elmhurst, Queens. That’s where detectives found the body of Andrea Zamperoni, the 33-year-old head chef of Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central who had been missing for days.
New chilling details in federal court documents describe the morbid discovery on Wednesday evening. When police knocked on the hostel room door they were met with the smell of a dead body and burning incense. They said Barini let them in, immediately claiming “She did not do it” and that “Her pimp made her do it.”
Investigators quickly spotted a garbage can in the corner stuffed with bed sheets and a human foot sticking out. They also found drug paraphernalia, plus bleach, an electric saw and an empty suitcase.
Barini told authorities her pimp and several other men discussed whether to cut up the body, saying he wouldn’t let her call 911.
She said she met the chef three days prior when he paid her for sex and she gave him a variety of drugs, like cocaine and ecstasy. He then began bleeding from the mouth and nose and did not wake up.
“The phone was going to voicemail. By the time he didn’t show up to work at 1 in the afternoon we really started to worry,” Cipriani Dolci manager Fernando Dallorso said.
“He talks to his mom every day in Italy. All of a sudden his mom calls me Monday asking where her son is,” sous chef Manuel Ignacio Also said.
Barini admitted to detectives she sometimes offered drugs to clients provided by her pimp. Investigators discovered she and several others would steal from their victims once incapacitated.
Prosecutors said two other men were also found dead in other Queens motels days apart back in July, with fentanyl in their systems, also connecting Barini to their deaths. She was spotted on surveillance footage in both cases.
Barini did face a judge at Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday afternoon. She is charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute substances containing fentanyl. It’s unclear if anyone else is in custody. Meanwhile, police sources suspect Zamperoni overdosed, but they are still waiting on an official cause of death.
Barini has 25 prior arrests for drugs and prostitution since 2001.