The unlicensed Bronx cosmetologist who was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the case of a client who came to her for silicone injections in her buttocks—and died of a silicone embolism in her lungs—was sentenced to nine months in jail. Prosecutors described Elsa Then, 58, as a “cold and calculating” manipulator who used Bounty paper towels, Band-Aids and Krazy glue to close victim Fiordaliza Pichardo's wounds.
“Some might describe what happened as tragic accident, but it was not that,” said Judge Martin Marcus while handing out the sentence. “You lulled [the victim] into trusting you and presented yourself as a professional.” Pichardo, 43, became sick two days after she got her injections from Then on March 16, 2009. She checked herself a Bronx hospital, complaining of dizziness and difficulty breathing; she later went into cardiac arrest and expired during the night. A Bronx medical examiner eventually concluded that the death of the mother of two was a homicide, caused by silicone-induced lung blockage.
“She was injecting my mother and my mother was in pain,” Pichardo's daughter, Marinez Rodriguez, had testified. “She used a piece of Bounty paper with Krazy Glue to seal the injection site, and she actually asked me to help.” Prosecutors claimed that Then tried to hide her tracks by attending Pichardo’s wake and telling grieving relatives she died from smoking too much. “Oh, those cigarettes, I knew they were going to kill your mother,” she told Rodriguez. “I told her to stop.”
Deaths and injuries from illegal cosmetic procedures seem to be popping up more and more lately: last year, a Queens spa owner was charged with second-degree assault and unlawfully practicing medicine for performing "butt enhancement" surgery. And last weekend, a NJ woman accused of injecting a young man's penis with silicone as part of a penis enhancing procedure was charged in his death.