A Somerton man’s rendezvous with a couple of young prostitutes on Aug. 26 ended with a botched robbery, followed by his suffocation and dismemberment, say Philadelphia police, who have charged both women and their alleged pimp in connection with the gruesome slaying.
Francis Zarzyeki, 40, of the 15000 block of Endicott St., had seemingly disappeared until Sept. 3 when a boater found his torso wrapped in a trash bag and floating in the Schuylkill River near Reed Street in the Grays Ferry section of South Philly. Zarzyeki’s head, arms and legs were missing and have yet to be found.
“We know what was a planned robbery escalated to murder by suffocation and ended with his body being chopped up, bagged up and thrown into the river,” said police Capt. James Clark, the homicide unit commander, during a Sept. 5 news conference.
Investigators believe the killing occurred in an apartment at 220 S. 11th St. and that the victim had gone there to meet two prostitutes, who reportedly used the names “Angel” and “Cinderella.”
Police identified the women as Angel Weston, 21, of the 2000 block of E. Monmouth St. in Kensington, and Stephanie Foulke, 22, of the 900 block of South Ave. in Secane, Delaware County. Both have been charged with murder as has their alleged handler, Keith Tolbert, 34, who lived in the 11th Street apartment.
Clark described a scenario in which the victim arrived at the apartment and engaged in conversation with the women when Tolbert attacked him with a Taser-type weapon. Zarzyeki, who reportedly lived with his parents and was the son of a retired police officer, apparently fought back. The women helped Tolbert subdue the victim with rope and duct tape as Tolbert used his body weight to pin and suffocate Zarzyeki.
Tolbert allegedly dragged the victim’s body into a bathroom, where he removed his limbs with an ax or hatchet, police said. Police continue to investigate how the victim’s remains were transported to the river and what happened to his head and limbs.
After Zarzyeki failed to return home, relatives filed a missing person report with Northeast Detectives on Aug. 28 and found computer and telephone records that linked the victim to the South 11th Street address.
The police department’s Citywide Vice Unit conducted a sting at the apartment on Aug. 31 and arrested Tolbert and Weston on prostitution charges that day. Both were still in custody when the boater found Zarzyeki’s torso on Sept. 3. Police arrested Foulke in Glenolden one day later. Both women reportedly detailed the slaying to homicide detectives.
The defendants are scheduled for a Sept. 25 preliminary hearing. ••