Police question woman in buttocks injection death

February 9, 2011 9:11:31 PM PST
Police say they've questioned one of two people in the case of a British woman who died after receiving cosmetic injections in her buttocks at a hotel near Philadelphia International Airport.

Investigators said officers issued a search warrant Tuesday night at the Bergen County, N.J., home of a woman they think set up the appointment online. The woman has been questioned but is not under arrest.

Philadelphia police Lt. Ray Evers said police believe she acted as a coordinator of buttocks and hip enlargements for the victim and another woman, communicating with them overseas by e-mail, text messages and phone calls to set up the visit - their second in recent months.

"Our information tells us these girls were here in November and did receive treatment from the same individuals," Evers said. The second woman who was being sought for questioning "was the actual person who performed the enhancements," he said.

Authorities are still pursuing a second woman they believe performed the procedure. Police sources say that person is a transgendered woman who lives in the Philadelphia area.

The woman who died has been identified as 20-year-old Claudia Aderotimi who lived in London but was not a British citizen.

Action News has obtained a photo of Aderotimi from her Twitter account under the name: Carmella London. She describes herself as a model and aspiring actress.

She was originally identified as Claudia Adusei. There was no immediate word on why police initially misidentified her.

Action News was there at the Hampton Inn on Bartram Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia, where police believe the incident occurred, on Wednesday as two police detectives arrived. They went inside around 11:00 a.m. and left shortly before noon. It is not known what they did during that hour.

According to officials, Aderotimi and three other women flew from Great Britain to Philadelphia and checked into the Hampton Inn on Saturday.

Police say two of the women came specifically for enhancement procedures while the other two went shopping in New York.

At noon on Monday, police say two women performed the enhancement procedure on the two British tourists. One received hip and buttocks injections and Aderotimi received injections just to the buttocks.

The illegal silicone buttock enhancement procedure reportedly took place in room 425 of the hotel at a cost of $3,000.

At around 1:30 Tuesday morning, medics were called to the hotel. Aderotimi was rushed to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Evers said investigators were not sure why the women came to Philadelphia to undergo the procedures and added it was the first such case city police have come across. "This is something that's completely unregulated," Evers said. "If nothing goes wrong, if no one dies, we're not going to find out about it."

In her last message on Twitter the day she had the procedure done, Claudia tweeted: "I'm goooonneeeeee so faR away."

The tourists who came with Aderotimi have been asked to stay until at least Saturday, when they have pre-purchased tickets to return to Europe. Aderotimi's friend who received the enhancement on the hip and buttocks has been medically cleared.

In Hackney, East London in Britain, her family was described in news accounts as devastated and trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

Authorities Wednesday revealed that the victim and one of her friends had also travelled to Philadelphia back in November to have the same procedure done at the same economy class hotel . She had apparently arranged the procedures on the internet. Authorities are trying to determine if Aderotimi had been lured into having the surgery by an organized gang of back-street surgeons.

Commonly in these cases, silicone or silicone oil is injected, neither of which is FDA approved to inject in the skin, but police are awaiting toxicology reports on the exact makeup of the substance. Those toxicology reports may take a few weeks.

Specifically, these underground, and very illegal clinics will use a type called hydro-gel, which gets rave reviews from people on the internet who claim to have undergone buttock-enhancing procedures.

Doctors have told Action News injecting any sort of thing directly into one's body poses great risk, especially if the substance makes contact with a blood vessel.

Authorities are treating Claudia Aderotimi's death as suspicious and because the medical examiner has not ruled her death a homicide, they are not calling the person who performed the procedure a suspect, but a person they'd like to question.

The Food and Drug Administration is advising Philadelphia Police, so that detectives are up to speed with exactly what the law allows, and does not allow, in relation to this case.

Neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor the U.S. Food and Drug Administration keep data on injuries or deaths caused by illicit cosmetic injections. Besides liquid silicone, injections of substances including paraffin, petroleum jelly and hydrogel have been illegally used to enlarge women's breasts, hips and buttocks.

Cases in recent years of illegal cosmetic injections causing death, disfigurement and health problems have been reported from New York City to Los Angeles and beyond. Solange Magnano, a 38-year-old model and former Miss Argentina, died in Buenos Aires in 2009 from complications after having cosmetic injections on her buttocks.