The slaying of an 84-year-old UConn School of Medicine professor who had not been on campus for months has led to UConn Health reviewing his work arrangements and looking into whether policies need to change.
Police found the body of 84-year-old Dr. Pierluigi Bigazzi, a faculty member of UConn’s School of Medicine, on Feb. 5 when officials from UConn contacted them to check on him.
UConn officials said Pierluigi Bigazzi last taught in the classroom in Spring 2017 and keycard access records indicate he was last on campus in August.
While he had not been on campus for months, his absence would not have been a concern because the work he was doing could be done from anywhere, including remotely, according to a statement from UConn.
In January, staff from UConn Health tried to contact him about a routine administrative matter, but did not hear back. Then on Feb. 5, the head of Bigazzi’s department alerted UConn Police, who went to Dr. Bigazzi’s home in Burlington and knocked on the door, according to UConn.
At first, there was no answer, then a Burlington officer and a state trooper also responded.
“Officers knocked on the door again and made contact with Linda Kosuda-Bigazzi, who initially denied them entry. Officers were later able to enter the home and found Dr. Bigazzi’s remains,” according to a statement from UConn.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Dr. Bigazzi died of blunt-force trauma and ruled his death a homicide.
Biagazzi’s wife, 70-year-old Linda L. Kosuda-Bigazzi, has been charged with murder and tampering with evidence and court records say Dr. Pierluigi Bigazzi could have been killed anytime between June 13, 2017 and Feb. 5, 2018.
Few details have been released on the circumstances of the slaying and the arrest warrant issued for Linda Kosuda-Bigazzi remains sealed until she goes back to court, which is scheduled for March 20.
Last week, UConn officials said that UConn President Susan Herbst directed the UConn Provost’s Office and Human Resources Department to review the circumstances surrounding Dr. Bigazzi’s work arrangements at UConn Health beginning last summer, including what the expectations of him were and what efforts were made to communicate with him.
The school will look into whether relevant UConn and UConn Health policies and protocols were followed and whether they need to update or create new policies and protocols.
“(G)iven the nature of his assignments, it was acceptable for Dr. Bigazzi to work remotely. However, it would be inappropriate for any regular full time employee to be absent from campus and out of communication for a very lengthy period of time if they are not on sabbatical or some other form of official leave,” a statement from UConn Health says. “Given that, the president instructed that this review take place.”
UConn Health called this a “a highly unusual situation, in that the fact an employee was no longer alive was apparently hidden and remained unknown to the university until recently.”