AUSTIN (KXAN) — The family of Natalia Monet Cox, a Huston-Tillotson University student who was shot and killed at her apartment complex in March is speaking out after filing a lawsuit against the Mid-American Apartment Communities.
“Learning to live in a world without Natalia is difficult,” said her mom, Lakeshia Cox.
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 responsible for 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.
According to the recent lawsuit filed, the initial terroristic threat was reported to the property management at the Canyon Pointe Apartments in Northwest Austin both in-person and via a written statement. Cox and her roommate asked to relocate.
“It was a very reasonable what she was asking for. Help me. Help me get out of this situation, that’s what she was looking for,” said Lakeshia Cox. “They could not give that to her.”
The suit claims in order to vacate Natalia and her roommate would need to pay a new application fee, security deposit, administrative fee and two months rent for failing to provide 60-days notice of move out.
KXAN made multiple calls, emails and even an in-person visit to the apartment complex to get their side of the story.
A company spokesperson sent this statement:
“We offer our deepest condolences to Ms. Cox’s family. The facts known to MAA differ from those alleged in the complaint. We cannot comment further because of the pending litigation,” said an MAA Spokesperson.
The Cox family is hopeful their daughter empowers change for other victims of domestic violence out there.
“When you think about the amount of women, and people in general that ask for help from their apartments and they’re pretty much just held hostage,” said Lakeshia Cox.
The Austin Tenants Council says landlords are prohibited from placing any obstacles and restrictions on a victims right to vacate. The council says they work with SAFE Austin and other organizations to make sure victims know their rights and protections.