Raleigh, North Carolina – The roommate and longtime friend of a woman found dead in her Raleigh apartment over the weekend was ordered to be held without bail on Thursday when she died.
Erick Gael Hernandez-Mendez, 20, is charged with murder following the death of Christina Maria Matos.
Her body was found at the Signature 1505 complex on Hillsborough Street on Sunday after her parents said they had not heard from her and asked police to come to her apartment to monitor her.
“There is no reason, no excuse to just take the life of someone, someone as beautiful as her,” Matos’ older brother Abraham Matos told WRAL News on Thursday. “There’s no need, no need to take someone’s life like that, mostly [someone] as close as her roommate, because that’s how close that person was – someone you trust. “
Christina Matos and Hernandez-Mendez had been friends since college and graduated from Clayton High School last year. They both shared Raleigh’s apartment with a third classmate Clayton High.
Her father, Gerardo Matos, said he and his wife heard from their daughter last Friday, on her 20th birthday. Christina Matos had called them and texted them and seemed to be in a very good mood, he said.
The family later became worried when they couldn’t contact her. On Saturday, her parents drove from Clayton to Raleigh to pick her up.
They said Hernandez-Mendez came right over when they called her over the weekend and helped search for her. He also attended his vigil on Tuesday night, they said.
Family members say they have asked Raleigh Police to continue investigating the case because they believe others may have been involved in Christina Matos’ death.
“Maybe he did, but maybe someone else helped open his apartment door or was an accomplice,” Gerardo Matos said. “My daughter, my beautiful princess, she was sleeping in her room when it happened.”
“What was the motive? What motivated this guy? I need to know what the motive was. What was the reason?” he added.
“Something tells me there is more,” admitted Abraham Matos, who said the arrest of Hernandez-Mendez brought him no relief.
“I want to make sure it’s 100% the truth, that it actually happened, because I know she deserves it more than anything,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to hide the real truth or anything or just lie about something. I need to know if that’s really what happened.”
Friends of Christina Matos became moved after Hernandez-Mendez’s brief hearing on Thursday, insisting the presence of a second suspect.
“One hundred percent we have a feeling that someone else is involved,” Jimmy Ferrell said.
“Something else is happening. We need those answers,” said Nijiah Williams. “There is something else.”
“We are here to see justice done for Christina,” Gerardo Matos said after the hearing. “This is the start of a long, very long process.”
Christina Matos had a difficult childhood but was changing her life in Raleigh, her brother said. She was working multiple jobs and saving money for school, he said.
“She changed a lot of things that were difficult for her to make it easier for her,” he said. “She wanted to keep improving her life, she wanted to keep moving forward, and I always wanted to tell her how proud I was. I wish I could say more.”
A funeral for Christina Matos is scheduled for noon next Monday at the Lea Funeral Home Chapel, 2500 Poole Road in Raleigh.