- On March 10, 2022, then-26-year-old Lauren Pazienza walked by and shoved 87-year-old Barbara Gustern to the ground.
- Gustern died five days later from blunt force trauma to the head.
- Lauren Pazienza's parents — Caroline Pazienza and Daniel Pazienza — reportedly hid their daughter from police, and may face charges themselves.
The death of beloved Broadway vocal coach and grandmother, 87-year-old Barbara Gustern, is more than just tragic. The act itself was callous and seemingly unprompted. According to CNN, on March 10, 2022, Gustern was standing in front of her Chelsea apartment when then-26-year-old Lauren Pazienza walked by and shoved her. Gustern fell, hitting her head, and died five days later from blunt force trauma to the head.
In the days that followed this attack, Pazienza fled to her parents's Long Island home where she hid before being recognized via an anonymous tip. Pazienza has since pled guilty and under the terms of her plea deal, will serve eight years in prison, but what about her parents? Here's what we know.
Lauren Pazienza's parents reportedly hid their daughter from police.
"When police were tipped off that she was hiding out in her parents' Long Island home, her father answered the door, but refused to allow detectives to enter the premises, and claimed that his daughter was not at home," per a complaint obtained by The U.S. Sun. This was after Pazienza deleted all of her social media, as well as her wedding website. She and her fiancé were due to be married in June 2022.
Jennifer Rodgers, a Columbia law professor, told the outlet that Pazienza's parents could be held liable if it can be proven they "knew she was wanted by the police and voluntarily assisted her." Karen Charrington, a former assistant district attorney for Bronx County, doesn't think this is likely to happen. "To simply say she’s not here … you don’t have an obligation to tell on another party, you don’t have an obligation to help law enforcement catch their suspect," Charrington informed the New York Post.
Lauren Pazienza's mother bailed her out of Rikers Island Jail using a check for $500,000.
After Pazienza's arrest, a judge "ordered her held on $500,000 cash over $1,000,000 bond," per Fox News. A few days after this was handed down, Caroline Pazienza, a personal trainer, "forked over a $500,000 check from Apple Bank." Pazienza's criminal defense lawyer, Arthur Aidala, said in a statement, "That money is not only her immediate family's money — many people participated in raising those funds." He added, "It shows the support Lauren has from her family and friends."
Her father, Daniel Pazienza, is the owner and operator of Dan Pazienza Cesspool Service in Holtzville, N.Y. Although Pazienza was painted as a "spoiled rich girl" by the media, her attorney assured everyone that's not the case. In classic Daily Mail fashion, they noted Daniel Pazienza was seen walking his dog March 27, 2022 in Port Jefferson, N.Y. in an area with a "NO PETS" sign. Other than this, Pazienza's parents have kept to themselves and have made no public statements about their daughter's crime or prison sentence.
Why did Lauren Pazienza shove Barbara Gustern?
Pazienza pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter. When asked in court if she committed the crime, Paziena said, "Yes." She also surrendered her ability to appeal. She didn't say why she shoved Gustern.
Many have called the attack "senseless" and "unprovoked." Pazienza's attorneys said their client had a "temper tantrum" that night and has been receiving psychiatric treatment since then. According to NBC New York, "Prosecutors allege Pazienza crossed the street and cursed at Gustern before violently shoving her to the ground." The elderly woman suffered a traumatic brain injury and was taken off life support five days later.