Bloody Clinton Street death an accident abetted by illness, husband claims

The body of 55-year-old Elizabeth Borst was found inside this Clinton Street home on Friday.
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie Musumeci

A Carroll Gardens woman who died on Saturday after she was found bloody and unconscious in her Clinton Street brownstone fell and hit her head on the kitchen floor because she was weak from illness, according to her husband.

Gaetano Lisco told this paper that Elizabeth Borst, his wife of 27 years, suffered from an autoimmune blood-clotting disease called antiphospholipid syndrome that left her in severely poor health in the days before her death.

“I feared everyday that this would happen,” said Lisco, who was taken in for questioning and released without charges by cops at the 76th Precinct on Saturday night. “Sometimes I would come home and I would find that she fell on the floor unable to stand up.”

Lisco, an actor and waiter, claims his 55-year-old wife, a former New York Post assistant editorial page editor, was in such bad shape that he had to help her up when she fell earlier on Friday before he left for his shift at a Manhattan restaurant.

“She’s been suffering for many years,” said Lisco, adding that Borst — who he described as a heavy drinker on anti-anxiety drugs and medication to reduce the risk of blood clotting — barely ate during her last three days. “She was extremely weak over the last two weeks.”

Lisco, 51, claims he last spoke to Borst when he called her at about 4 pm on Friday, and grew frantic when she didn’t pick up multiple times later that night.

Concerned about her well-being, Lisco says he called in a favor from a Court Street deli clerk named Valentino, who found Borst’s body on the kitchen floor next to a shattered bottle of vodka at around 10:30 pm.

“He was very scared. There was blood everywhere,” said a trembling Lisco, who claims he regularly left the front door of the home near Sackett Street unlocked so neighbors and Valentino could check on his wife at his request. “She was most likely lying there in a coma for five hours and lost a lot of blood.”

Valentino didn’t know if Borst was conscious, so Lisco claims he called a tenant in the building for help.

Tenants in Lisco’s building did not answer their doors on Sunday, and the bodega worker was not at his store on Monday, but a worker at the shop said employees have been delivering groceries to the home for 10 years.

Police responded to a 911 call from a tenant in Lisco’s building and found Borst with a severe head wound. Emergency workers on the scene rushed Borst to Long Island College Hospital, where she died at 4:30 am.

“She died with her beautiful eyes open still looking at me,” said Lisco as he broke down in tears. “I’m devastated.”

Cops are still investigating the case to determine if Borst was the victim of a murder.

An initial autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office came back inconclusive, a spokeswoman said. A toxicologist will examine blood and take tissue samples to determine a cause of death, which may not be known for another two weeks, she said.

Neighbors were shocked when they heard the news and saw their low-key street turn into a taped-off crime scene.

“This is a very quiet neighborhood,” said longtime Clinton Street resident Al Sirico. “It looked like a scene out of ‘Law and Order.’ ”

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

More from Around New York