After an autopsy performed the following day, the city’s medical examiner ruled that the cause of death was strangulation and classified it as a homicide.
According to a law enforcement source contacted by Gay City News, Matos’ body was discovered at approximately 2:20 a.m. by Mark Watkins, the deceased’s 30-year-old boyfriend who shared the apartment. Clarence Patton, an official with the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP) which has been in touch with police about the crime, said that Watkins told police that he found Matos in a state he described as “unconscious” and immediately called 911. Patton said that police would not say if the victim was dead when they arrived, though the strangulation finding by the medical examiner would seem to suggest that.
AVP also learned that Matos was fully dressed when she was found and that it appeared to investigators that she had been killed at home. No evidence that the murder was motivated by bias due to her status as a transsexual woman has come to the attention of AVP.
The Daily News reported in a story on July 23 that Watkins was being questioned by detectives, but as of July 25 there was no clear break in the case. Detective Kevin Czartoryski, a spokesperson for the office of the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, said, “There are some leads that [detectives] are working on, but there’s nothing specific at this time.”
Patton said that AVP had learned that Matos was “fairly well-known” in her neighborhood and that police were getting cooperation from acquaintances and neighbors.