Family of Huston-Tillotson student shot and killed files suit against apartment complex

Natalia Monet Cox (Huston-Tillotson University Photo)

Natalia Monet Cox (Huston-Tillotson University Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The family of Natalia Monet Cox, a Huston-Tillotson student shot and killed at her apartment complex in March, has filed a lawsuit against Mid-American Apartment Communities.

Cox died in the early morning hours of March 31 at the Colonial Grand at Canyon Pointe Apartments in northwest Austin.

In May, Austin police arrested Henry Watson, 24, who they believe is connected to the death of the 21-year-old student. Online records show Watson was found incompetent to stand trial on July 16 and has been sent to a mental health or resident care facility for no more than 120 days. Watson can still be prosecuted.

Watson’s arrest affidavit shows police responded to a report of a “terroristic threat” regarding Cox and Watson a week before the alleged murder. Cox reportedly told police she had only met Watson three days before and gone on two dates with him. 

In the early morning hours of March 31, police say Watson showed up at Cox’s apartment with a gun, broke down the door to her apartment, and shot and killed her.

The newly-filed lawsuit against Cox’s apartment complex alleges Cox’s roommate made an “urgent” request for relocation due to that “violent threat.”

The lawsuit claims Mid-America Apartment Communities, the corporate property owner, refused to allow them to relocate without paying fees, forcing them to remain at the apartment.

KXAN reached out to Mid-America Apartment Communities about the lawsuit. The company said, “the facts known to MAA differ from those alleged in the complaint” but did not comment further due to pending litigation.

According to an arrest affidavit, Cox reportedly texted Watson that she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want him to come over, but Watson did anyway. Then police say she heard a knock at her door. Cox asked Watson if he was there, and he replied, “Open the door.” 

Cox called him via FaceTime: when Watson reportedly said he had a gun and he was going to shoot the door open if she didn’t open it. A roommate then called police, and Cox continued talking to Watson to calm him down, the affidavit said.

Police say Cox received text messages from people identifying themselves as family members of Watson’s four days after that incident on March 25. One of them, from someone identified as Watson’s father, said Watson was “very suicidal” and wanted to talk to her about what happened. 

She didn’t reply. 

She received another text from the same number nearly 24 hours later asking her to meet at another apartment complex, and she never replied, the affidavit said.

An autopsy determined Cox’s death was homicide by gunshot wounds. Watson now faces a first-degree felony murder charge.

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