SOUTH OZONE PARK, Queens — Police have released new surveillance footage after a 92-year-old woman was killed in Queens in what the NYPD's chief of detectives described Wednesday as a "heinous crime."
Maria Fuertes was found unconscious and unresponsive on the ground on 127th Street in Ozone Park, near her 103rd Road home, on Jan. 6 just after midnight, police said.
Emergency medical services rushed her to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.
"The incident regarding the 92-year-old female that was found deceased in the confines of the 106 precinct is now being investigated as a homicide," NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said. "The NYPD needs the public’s assistance in identifying the person responsible for this heinous crime."
A police source with knowledge of the investigation told PIX11 News things changed when they found marks to the victim's neck.
Authorities said Thursday they believe a man seen in new surveillance video approached Fuertes from behind, assaulted her and knocked her to the ground.
The man sought for in connection to the woman's death is described as having an average build, black hair, brown eyes, and last seen wearing a black jacket, dark-colored pants, and black shoes, according to police.
Neighbors described Fuertes as a nice woman who would take care of cats in the area.
"She likes to go outside with bread and always see people bring her home and I would tell her don’t go outside but she didn’t listen, that’s her thing," said one resident.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).