Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
New York City

NYC Woman Linked to Deaths of 3 Men, Including One Found Dead at Same Hotel as Missing Grand Central Chef, Federal Complaint Says

The criminal complaint names the men only as John Doe 1, 2 and 3, but John Doe 3 has the same age and origin as chef Andrea Zamperoni, who was found dead the same day at the same place

What to Know

  • A 41-year-old woman has been linked to the deaths of at least three men in Queens since July; she faces drug-related charges, court docs say
  • While the criminal complaint identities the men only as John Doe 1, 2 and 3, No. 3 shares the characteristics of an NYC chef who vanished
  • The chef, Andrea Zemperoni, was found dead Aug. 21 at the same Queens lodge where John Doe 3 was found; he's also the same age

A 41-year-old Queens woman authorities allege is linked to the deaths of at least three men since early July has been charged with narcotics-related crimes and conspiracies, according to a federal complaint obtained by News 4 Monday.

One of the cases to which Angelina Barini is allegedly connected involves a body discovered at the Kamway Lodge in Elmhurst on Aug. 21, the same place and day where missing Grand Central head chef Andrea Zamperoni was found dead.

The complaint does not name the men, referring to them only as John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and John Doe 3, and outlines an alleged scheme by Barini and others to distribute fentanyl-laced drugs. According to the complaint, agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and other law enforcement members had been investigating several lethal drug overdoses in New York City hotel rooms between July and August 2019.

Barini, a sex worker, is linked to at least three of those deaths. The most recent one was Aug. 21, the day Zamperoni's body was found. The complaint describes "John Doe 3" as a man who had been reported missing, which Zamperoni had been days earlier. Barini was the woman who opened the door when investigators knocked on the door at Kamway Lodge that day; she quickly shut it, but the complaint says officers smelled a scent consistent with a dead body, along with burning incense, and questioned her. According to the complaint, law enforcement authorities saw what appeared to be a garbage can with bed linens stuffed inside and what appeared to be a bare human foot sticking out. 

Barini allegedly told officers she "didn't do it, her pimp made her do it and it was not her," according to the complaint. The victim in that case was a 33-year-old man from Italy, the same age and origin as Zamperoni, whose autopsy results remained pending further study as of Monday, according to the medical examiner's office. 

Cellphones, clothing, a glass pipe commonly used to smoke drugs and an American Express credit card bearing John Doe 3's name were found in the room, the complaint says. Also found: bottles of bleach and bleach-covered towels, electronics, a power saw and an empty suitcase, the complaint says.

Barini told authorities she had met the man from Italy three days earlier and they went to the lodge, where he paid her for sex; she said he didn't wake up and was bleeding from the nose and mouth, telling authorities her pimp wouldn't let her call authorities, the complaint says. She also allegedly told investigators the body was wrapped in a garbage bag and her alleged associates, who would sometimes take property of victims once they were drugged, came into the room to talk about whether to cut up the body.

While she initially denied that she gave John Doe 3 drugs, the complaint says she later admitted one of her alleged co-conspirators gave him "liquid ecstasy." She also allegedly confessed to giving clients drugs, supplied by her alleged co-conspirators, on occasion, according to the federal complaint. She also allegedly connected herself to the case of John Doe 2, the complaint says. 

As for the other two cases: John Doe 2 was found dead at the Crown Inn Motel in Woodside July 11; video surveillance showed him and a woman who appeared to be Barini enter the motel that day. John Doe 2 died of fentanyl intoxication, according to his autopsy.

Seven days before that, the body of John Doe 1 was discovered at East Elmhurst's Airway Inn at LaGuardia. Video surveillance in that case showed a woman who appeared to be Barini leaving the hotel shortly before the body was discovered. John Doe 1 died of acute intoxication due to the combined effects of alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl, according to the criminal complaint. 

A mother of one of the other victims, Norrele Silvero, was at the courthouse on Monday, only referring to her son as "John" while saying it was a "very, very difficult situation.

Barini was arraigned in Brooklyn federal Monday afternoon on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one or more substances containing fentanyl. She did not enter a plea and was remanded on bail. Her lawyer, Mildred Whalen, had no comment.

Contact Us