Adrienne Shelly, Diego Pillco: Hollywood Actress Murdered By Illegal Immigrant Subject Of ‘The Perfect Murder’

Hollywood actress Adrienne Shelly’s death made headlines 11 years ago. Tonight, The Perfect Murder will resurrect the case through re-enactments and interviews on Investigation Discovery. Adrienne Shelly, 40, was found dead by her husband in their West Village apartment. Adrienne’s Shelly’s killing sparked outrage after it was discovered that Diego Pillco, the murderer, was an illegal immigrant.

Hollywood Actress Found Hanging In New York City Apartment

The combination of words above made up the titles of many newspapers in 2006 when actress Adrienne Shelly was found dead. The discovery was made by Adrienne’s husband, Andrew ‘Andy’ Ostroy. When police descended on the scene, they found the already-deceased actress hanging from a shower rod in the bathroom. There was also a strange footprint that didn’t match any shoes in the Shelly home.

To detectives, it appeared to be a suicide. However, there was no suicide note found, and her husband told police that his wife would never kill herself. As New York City detectives investigated further, it became clear that this was no suicide but a staged homicide. Someone went to great lengths to disguise what happened.

Neighbors feared there was a killer living among them, and there was pressure to find out who had silenced the beloved indie-actress. Along with relatives, famous celebrities also mourned Adrienne Shelly’s untimely death.

Illegal Immigrant Named As Killer

Not long before her death, Adrienne Shelly complained about the building noise, stemming from apartment renovations and the construction crew. Shelly used one of the apartments as an office. Police then connected the strange boot print in Adrienne’s home to the boot of Diego Pillco, an undocumented immigrant, from Ecuador who was working at the site, the New York Post reported.

“Cops matched his gypsum dust-caked boot bottom to a perfectly-preserved print on Shelly’s toilet lid.”

News of Diego Pillco’s immigration status infuriated family members and neighbors. NYC law enforcement investigators say the evidence showed that Diego Pillco, 20, had approached Shelly at the Greenwich Village apartments then tried to rob her. When she screamed, he knocked her out and dragged her to the bathroom where she was hanged. Police also considered rape as a possible motive.


After the murder, Diego Pillco left Adrienne Shelly to die while he went back to work. An autopsy report stated the victim was also choked or strangled with a bed sheet.

Diego Pillco’s neighbors said that he was a hardworking immigrant who tried hard to provide for his family. He often sent money he earned in the United States to his parents in Ecuador. Others said that Diego often stared at them, giving them an uneasy feeling.


Diego Pillco Today

For the death of Adrienne Shelly, Diego Pillco pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years for manslaughter. Today, he is incarcerated at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility in New York. His earliest possible release is in 2028. If he stays until his maximum sentence runs out in 2031, Diego Pillco will likely be deported back to his native country.

Adrienne Shelly is remembered for her roles in Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, and Waitress. The Perfect Murder episode “Fade to Black” will air the tragic story tonight at 8 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

[Featured Image by Kaufman Films/Facebook]