Christina Maria Matos, the 20-year-old woman murdered in her Hillsborough Street apartment, died from multiple stab wounds to the neck.
On her funeral Monday, friends and family filled the chapel and remembered a young woman of deep faith and big heart who was curious about the world and eager to help her less fortunate people.
“She was always the one who asked if everyone was okay,” said Will Kelley, minister of youth at Everett Chapel Freewill Baptist Church in Clayton. “She was always the one who took the initiative.
“You are sad,” he continued in front of Lea Funeral Home. “You are confused. There’s a little bit of anger. There are many things that you don’t understand and you are broken for the family. “
Matos’ death certificate states that she died within minutes of the sting.
Erick Gael Hernandez-Mendez, also 20, is charged with murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Classmates married a week before the killing
Classmates in Clayton, Matos, and Hernandez-Mendez were granted marriage permits in February and were married on March 29.
Last week, a friend said Hernandez-Mendez, the high school classmate charged in her murder, offered to pay Matos $ 15,000 to marry him so he could stay in the U.S., according to ABC 11, N’s media partner & O.
“He came to Christina in the hope that she would get married and that he could be a legal citizen, and he promised, ‘OK, if we get married I’ll give you $ 15,000 and we’ll kind of go our separate ways and eventually get divorced in three years.” said Savannah Ferrell to the station. “Christina had full intentions of getting a divorce, getting her check, and being gone.”
At the funeral, Kelley said he only marginally knew the suspect.
“I met him a few times when he was in church,” the youth pastor recalled. “I didn’t have a close relationship with him. I knew him as a passerby. “
Matos took classes at Wake Tech in the fall but wasn’t enrolled in the spring semester, a school spokesman told The News & Observer.
According to the bar’s Facebook page, she was a former waitress at Jonathan’s Sports Lounge & Grill. Matos’ father Gerardo Mato said his daughter worked as a waitress at Mango’s nightclub.
Her family has said they knew little about the couple’s coexistence and the circumstances surrounding their death.
“We don’t know anything,” said her aunt Norma Matos. “Everything for us is a surprise. We don’t even know how she died. We don’t have forensics, nothing. Today is the day to say goodbye to Christina. It’s very tragic. Very sad.”
At the service on Monday, her brother Abraham stood in front of dozens of mourners in front of her open coffin and tried to say goodbye.
“It was a blessing to have been her brother,” he said. “She will always be remembered for the hardworking, generous woman she was.”
Staff writer Ashad Hajela contributed to this story.