By Christina Santucci
A Ridgewood woman and her boyfriend found slain in the ground-floor apartment they shared were strangled and beaten to death, the city medical examiner’s office said.
The 28-year-old woman, who police identified as Beatrice Morris, died from compression to her neck and blunt force trauma to the head, and her beau, 21-year-old Franco Montoya, also suffered injury to his head, causing his death, the ME said.
Both cases were ruled homicides and an investigation into the murders was continuing, according to the medical examiner.
Montoya and Morris were discovered by officers responding to a call about an assault at about 9:30 p.m. Monday inside a three-story brick building on Flushing Avenue a block from the historic Onderdonk House, the NYPD said.
Police said both were unconscious at the time, and emergency responders pronounced them dead at the scene.
The couple had lived in the building for about the past year, said Morris’ best friend, Jeannie Cisneros, who met her first childhood pal on the school bus headed to PS 153 in Maspeth.
A fun-loving vegetarian whom loved ones called Noelle, Morris would frequently rescue stray cats, her friend said.
Cisneros said Morris often wrote poetry and short stories and was the youngest of three siblings.
“She was always there for her mother and friends when we needed her,” Cisneros said, explaining that Morris often assisted her own mother by going to the grocery store, taking her to doctor’s appointments, doing the laundry and making sure she was never alone.
“She could make anybody laugh and always would. She was an optimist who always saw the brighter side of things and people and didn’t have a mean bone in her body,” Cisneros said. “Everybody in the neighborhood knew and loved her.”
Morris worked as a receptionist at H&R Block and Montoya was unemployed, her friend said.
“When I spoke to her a few days ago, she said he had a job interview and was trying to change his work situation,” Cisneros said.
Cisneros believed the pair, who had been on and off again for a while, had met through mutual friends and she described Montoya as quiet and reserved.
“I am incredibly shocked by her death. She was by far the most accepting, open-minded, sweetest and most fun person I have ever had the privilege of knowing,” Cisneros said. “I can never in a million years think of a single person that would wish her any harm.”
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4589.