By Ivan Pereira
Ever since he was gunned down outside a playground on Oct. 28, she and her team of detectives worked tirelessly discovering the numerous clues that led to the arrest of Malakov's ex-wife and her distant uncle.”Anytime you have a negative, you work hard to turn it into a positive and the community appreciates the work you do,” Bartolomei said.The community showed its thanks by naming the detectives honorary Cops of the Month during the precinct's community council meeting on Feb. 20. Capt. Richard Napolitano, the commanding officer, gave Bartolomei and Detectives Ismet Hoxha, Jeffrey Lee and John Megaldi special plaques for going the distance in making arrests in the murder that shocked the Forest Hills community.”They did an excellent job. They worked very long hours and they came on their days off to catch those responsible,” he said.Malakov was shot twice in the chest as he was dropping off his 4-year-old daughter, Michelle, to visit her mother, Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova, who lost custody of the girl days earlier as part of a bitter custody battle. Detectives matched fingerprints found on a makeshift silencer left behind by the shooter to the fingerprints of Mikhail Mallayev, Borukhova's uncle through marriage.Mallayev was arrested at his home outside Atlanta, Ga., in November, and was extradited in January after a Queens grand jury indicted him on murder charges. A few weeks later, police arrested Borukhova and charged her with first-degree murder and conspiracy for allegedly paying off her relative to kill Malakov.The investigators found that Borukhova, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, and Mallayev shared 91 phone calls in the weeks leading up to the murder, but only two after Malakov was shot, according to the criminal complaint. The police also discovered that Mallayev deposited nearly $20,000 into various accounts at a Brooklyn bank a week after he allegedly pulled the trigger, the complaint said.Both are awaiting trial and could face life in prison without parole if convicted.Bartolomei said it was satisfying to have a case that came together so well, like an episode of “Law & Order,” but she said the real accomplishment was helping out Malakov's family.”It's very rewarding, because we're doing justice for the victim's family,” she said.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.