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Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau filed an arrest warrant last Thursday charging Dean Faiello of New Jersey with second-degree murder in the death of Barclay's analyst Maria Cruz, 35.
Cruz, a Philippines native, was last heard from on April 13. She had been undergoing laser treatments to remove a growth on her tongue at Faiello's apartment on West 16th Street before her disappearance, Morgenthau said in a news release.
"Under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to Maria Cruz and caused her death," the DA said.
Faiello is in Costa Rica awaiting extradition on charges he fled the country last year before his sentencing on a guilty plea to unauthorized practice of medicine.
Police found Cruz's remains Feb. 18 in a suitcase buried under a concrete platform in the Newark, N.J. garage that had belonged to Faiello, who sold his house in May, the DA said. A friend of Faiello's said he saw him laying the concrete the day before the house was sold, Morgenthau said.
While treating Cruz in mid-April, he allegedly called a doctor friend and said she was having convulsions after he gave her an anesthetic, the DA said.
The doctor told Faiello to get Cruz to a hospital, but Faiello allegedly ignored his advice and told another friend not to call 911, the district attorney said.
"In a subsequent phone call with the same friend, Faiello said the patient was fine and that he had taken her to St. Vincent's Hospital," the DA said, but police found no record of Cruz's admittance to a hospital.
In an e-mail to the TimesLedger, Cruz's uncle Jose Navarro, who lives in Maspeth, said the murder charge was a relief.
"I believe that justice for Maria Cruz will come soon," he wrote. "I do not want to sound mean, but I think he will suffer more if he stays in jail than the death sentence. I still hope and pray that he will admit to the charges to spare the family the hardship and agony of a trial."
Faiello faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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