Homicide investigation under way after 92-year-old woman found dead in Queens street

RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- The death of a 92-year-old woman is under investigation as a homicide after she was discovered in the street in Queens.

Maria Fuertes' body was found near Liberty Avenue and 127th Street just after midnight Monday.

Fuertes, known around the neighborhood as the "local cat lady," may have been strangled, police said.

She was beloved in the neighborhood and would come out late at night to feed the stray animals.

Neighbors said she was an amazing lady who took care of the entire neighborhood -- not just the dogs and cats.

"It's upsetting because this is an old woman," neighbor Anthony Davis said. "What need do you need to attack her or hurt her? She has never done nothing to anyone."

After reviewing surveillance video, detectives say Fuertes bumped into an unknown man before falling to the ground.

Now authorities want to talk to the man in the video.

"She was a sweet lady," neighbor Aneil Ram said. "We all knew her since we were small and it's sickening to even hear something like that happening to her."

A report from the Medical Examiner expected this week will provide more answers on her death.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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