A Queens prostitute was arrested in connection with the death of Andrea Zamperoni, the head chef of a luxurious New York City restaurant whose body was discovered inside a hostel last week.
Angelina Barini, 35, was taken into custody on Sunday and charged in relation to several narcotics-related deaths including Zamperoni, the New York Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information tells PEOPLE.
Authorities believe Barini gave Zamperoni, who was 33, drugs laced with fentanyl, which led to his tragic death inside the Kamway Lodge & Tavern in Elmhurst, Queens last week, according to the New York Post.
Zamperoni, who worked as the head chef at the Cipriani Dolci restaurant in Grand Central Terminal for more than a year, was reported missing last Monday after he failed to show up for his shift at the fancy eatery. Police found his body on Wednesday.
Court documents obtained by the Post state that police showed up to the Elmhurst hostel around 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. When Barini opened the door, cops noticed it allegedly smelled like bodily decay masked by incense.
“In the corner of the room, law enforcement authorities noticed what appeared to be a garbage can with bed linens stuffed inside and what appeared to be a bare human foot sticking out of the bed linens,” the documents state, according to the Post.
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The documents note that Barini allegedly told police at first that “she did not do it, her pimp made her do it, and it was not her,” but later admitted to giving Zamperoni the drugs.
The pimp, who was not identified, also allegedly forbade Barini from calling the police and discussed cutting up Zamperoni’s body to hide what happened, according to the documents.
Kamway, which is located near LaGuardia Airport and just a few blocks away from Zamperoni’s Flushing residence, is listed as a hostel on TripAdvisor and offers single room bookings for as low as $36 per night.
Besides Zamperoni, Barini is accused of giving two other men fatal drugs in July, according to the complaint obtained by the Post.
Barini is now being charged with a conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute one or more substances containing fentanyl, the Post reports.
A spokesperson for the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Zamperoni was last seen at his Flushing residence on Monday, Aug. 19 around noon.
His disappearance immediately startled his loved ones, as they said it was completely out of character for the chef to miss his daily phone calls with his mother who lives in Italy or not show up to work, a company he had been employed at for over a decade.
Shortly after news of his passing broke, Cipriani Dolci issued a statement about the tragedy to PEOPLE, which was also shared on their Instagram.
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“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,” the restaurant said. “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,” they continued. “We trust the NYPD is exerting all efforts to investigate and bring clarity to this tragic situation. We thank you for your support.”
An investigation remains underway by the New York Police Department and Homeland Security, and the Medical Examiner has not yet determined a cause of death for Zamperoni, according to the Post.
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