Maria Fuertes' body was discovered on the sidewalk near Liberty Avenue and 127th Street in Richmond Hill just after midnight Monday.
Police say the elderly woman was approached from behind, assaulted, and knocked to the ground. She was found lying there with neck and back injuries.
Fuertes' son said he wants the attacker to pay for what he did to his mother, but he is grateful the police were able to get video of the man they are looking for.
Hugo Fuertes said he can't figure out why anyone would want to kill his mother and leave her body in the middle of the street.
"She was a very good lady, very nice lady," he said. "Nobody is supposed to kill -- because she never did nothing bad to nobody."
Fuertes is known around the neighborhood as the local "cat lady" or "grandma."
Residents say she was beloved in the neighborhood and would come out late at night to feed the stray animals.
Neighbors said she was an amazing woman 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."
"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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