Police say a missing wallet leads them to believe that robbery was the motive for the attack on 26 year-old Amy Watkins. Her body was found by a pedestrian Tuesday morning, just a few blocks from her home in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn.
Neighbors in the quiet gentrified neighborhood told police they had heard screams. "It was such a noise," said one man, who declined to give his name. "I didn't hear a call for help. She must have been surprised."
The New York Post reported Wednesday that a witness chased the male attacker, before he vanished. No arrests have been made.
Watkins counseled battered women and worked with children at a community center in the Bronx, while studying for her master's degree in social work. "Amy was very dedicated to social justice and believed in everyone," said Megan Nolan of the New Settlement Community Center. "She always had a big smile on her face."
"She was just incredibly loving, incredibly sweet," said Adam Green, Watkins' boyfriend. Green, who met her at the Bronx center and had been dating her for four months, said he believed the killing was "one of those random, senseless acts of violence. There are a lot of people with rage in their hearts."
Watkins was born in Illinois and raised in Lawrence, Kan., where she graduated from the State University. She was a second-year graduate student at New York's Hunter College.
"This terrible event occurred at the outset of what would have been a brilliant career of public service," college President David A. Caputo said.
Watkins is survived by her parents and an older brother. Her father Lawrence, a teacher at a private school in Manhattan told reporters "I am heartbroken, I am devastated."