RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A 20-year-old was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of a young woman found dead in her apartment near North Carolina State University.
Raleigh police said 20-year-old Eric Gael Hernandez-Mendez, who was a roommate of Christina Maria Matos, was charged with her murder.
Officers responded to the 1500 block of Hillsborough Street on Sunday after it was reported that Matos, 20, didn’t show up for her birthday party on Saturday. She was previously a student at Wake Tech – but was not registered for this semester – and had just turned 20 years old on Friday. Her parents said she went out to celebrate with friends Friday night and that was the last time she was seen.
“We want to figure out what happened with Christina,” her mom, Yolanda Matos, said through tears Monday afternoon. “We want justice for her.”
Matos’ brother and two of her friends confirmed that Hernandez-Mendez was a roommate of hers.
“I knew the guy, actually. It was crazy. We went to school with him,” said Tyrone Thompson. He said he and Matos had been friends since they were children. “It just makes me sick, makes me sick.”
On Wednesday, college students who live in the area said they feel unsafe in light of the homicide investigation, even though Raleigh police said there is no ongoing threat.
Friends and family held a memorial for Matos Wednesday night.
“We need justice. We need to know who do this to Christina,” Matos’ father said.
Another vigil was held on Thursday night. Friends and coworkers gathered to share memories.
“Oh, she was a sweet young lady,” said Jonathon Fleming, who was Matos’ boss at Jonathon’s Sports Lounge. “Always cheerful when she came up in here. Good spirits.”
Friend Sydney Richardson added: “She was so funny and she loved her friends. She would do anything for anyone, she just had the highest heart. Genuine.”