Murder Investigation: In the Words of a Witness

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, September 2 2013 at 6:37 PM, Updated: Mon, September 2 2013 at 7:38 PM

We're learning more about Maria Rodriguez from one of her neighbors who says he did what he could.

The neighbor we spoke with, Roderick Hawkins, said 38-year-old Maria Rodriguez was a nice woman and the mother of a teen aged son.

It was just outside an apartment at 1990 Table Rock Road that 38-year-old Maria Rodriguez was found dead with multiple stab wounds.

"I just saw her dying, I just saw her dying," recounted Hawkins.

"And that was it. She was crying and dying."

The scene, straight out of a nightmare, started on Sunday evening, with screams. He said his girlfriend saw the suspect on top of Maria, choking her.

"I was getting dressed for work and I heard screams for help I come outside and I walk around the corner here and the suspect was hiding in the shadows over here in the dark [...] hiding right over here behind the bushes," said Hawkins as he walked NBC 5 News through what he says happened.

Hawkins said the man charged him, holding a large butcher knife.

"I had to run. The victim was running with me and he caught her and stabbed her to death," Hawkins said.

He and Rodriguez, both unprepared for the attack.

"She just got through grocery shopping and he was waiting for her in the bushes and he attacked her."

He said much of it happened right in front of his two-year-old little girl.

"I couldn't do nothing, I was unarmed."

At that point, Hawkins said the man took off.

But he said it wasn't the first time he's seen the suspect.

"A week an a half ago he pulled the fire alarm at 5 o'clock in the morning to get everybody outside to see where she stayed."

On the same day as the fire alarm incident, Hawkins said when he came home from work he ran into the man leaning up against Maria's car.

"I asked him what the hell he was doing and he said he was looking for his sister. Basically he was stalking her."

According to Hawkins, Maria described the man as a drunk who wanted to be with her.

"He was obsessed with her," said Hawkins.

She was a woman Hawkins remembered as a good neighbor who has cooked meals for him before. They have lived next door to each other for the last year.  

"She was a real nice lady, she was nice. She didn't deserve it. She didn't deserve it."

He said he has a message for the person who killed Maria or anyone else wanting to harm someone where he lives.

"When you see the sign that says no trespassing, people around here probably have itchy trigger fingers now. Oh yeah."

Hawkins also told us that Maria Rodriguez has an 18 or 19-year-old son who wasn't home when it happened.

When NBC 5 arrived on scene Monday morning, the crime scene tape had already been taken down where Hawkins said the incident took place. However, a building behind the apartment complex was still wrapped in crime scene tape. It's unknown why.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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