The woman who allegedly shoved famed vocal coach Barbara Gustern, 87, before her death returned to the scene to watch the ambulance leave, then spent the next few days hiding at her parents’ house and deleting her social media accounts before finally turning herself in, authorities say.
Lauren Pazienza, 26, turned herself in to police on Tuesday, 12 days after the unprovoked attack that left Gustern with a head injury that resulted in her death on March 16. Gustern was a famed vocal coach who trained Broadway stars and famed musicians such as Blondie singer Debbie Harry.
Pazienza was charged with manslaughter and was behind bars as of Wednesday, Inside Edition reported. The outlet reported on what it called a “disturbing timeline” following the attack.
“Police say Lauren Pazienza, 26, walked back to the scene six minutes after shoving 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern to the ground and watched as the ambulance arrived on the scene,” the outlet reported.
Police also said that Gustern was conscious long enough to say that her assailant had crossed the street and called her a “b****” before shoving her. “Authorities say Pazienza and her fiance, who works for Microsoft, got into the subway at Penn Station, transferred at Times Square, then took the train to their apartment in Queens, leaving a digital trail with the fiance’s Metrocard,” Inside Edition noted.
For the next few hours, Pazienza allegedly worked to remove her social media and photos and even removed the website for her June wedding, the outlet reported. A day later, Pazienza allegedly went to her parents’ home in Long Island and stayed there until turning herself in. She allegedly left her phone at her aunt’s home, and her father apparently told police Pazienza wasn’t at the house when they went to look for her following a tip. Police had received a tip from two people who “knew [Pazienza] well,” but were turned away by her father. A day later, however, Pazienza turned herself in while accompanied by an attorney.
The Daily Wire previously reported on the attack that killed Gustern:
Barbara Maier Gustern was traveling to watch a student to perform at Joe’s Pub when she was pushed from behind by a 30-ish red-haired woman in front of her building at West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea.
On Tuesday morning, her grandson posted on Gustern’s Facebook page, “Today, at 11:15 AM, we have lost one of the brightest little flames to ever grace this world. ‘I ask that you all give me a little time and space, but I want to make time for anyone and everyone who wants to know more about her final moments. … Bobbob, I love you, you are and always will be my heart.”
“Surveillance footage released Sunday shows the suspect leaving the scene towards Ninth Avenue. She is described as a red-haired woman, likely in her 30s, wearing a black jacket, black leggings, a white skirt and dark colored shoes. She has not been caught,” The Daily Mail noted.
After she was struck and lying on the ground with a gash in her head, Gustern told a friend, “I’ve never been hit so hard in my life.” “Ms. Gustern gave the police a description of her attacker and said that the woman shouted a derogatory term before assaulting her,” The New York Times reported.
Pazienza’s attorney, Arthur Aidala, insisted to reporters earlier this week that the evidence was not clear that his client purposefully shoved Gustern.
“Whether it was a push, whether it was a shove, whether it was a kick or whether someone tripped — the evidence is not very solid on that at all,” Aidala said, according to Inside Edition.