In 1989, Matias Reyes committed a series of vicious attacks in and around Central Park that left numerous women scarred for life, five men in prison for his crimes, and one woman murdered while her children listened in from another room. Of all the murders that have occurred in Central Park (and there have been many), his were some of the most heinous. As will become evident in this run down of Central Park murderer facts, Reyes's crimes were motived by the fact that he wanted to be in control of the women he was harming, and in many instances he thought he was forming a lifelong bond with his chosen victims.
So, just who is the East Side Slasher? That’s the question that was on everyone's minds across New York City after the crimes of Matias Reyes first came to light. There were so many horrifying Central Park murders happening while he was running free that it seemed impossible to separate the rapes and murders committed by Reyes from those of the rest of the crazies who were running around the city with the same M.O.
He Murdered A Pregnant Woman While Her Children Listened From The Next RoomPhoto: NYPD / PBS Learning Media
While trying to find an explanation for the actions of the East Side Slasher, Michael Sheehan, a former homicide investigator who helped put Reyes behind bars said: ''He is a complete lunatic.'' And there's nothing that proves this more than the particularly brutal murder he committed in June 1989.
On a summer night in 1989, Reyes raped and murdered 24-year-old Lourdes Gonzalez in her basement apartment on East 97th Street. Gonzalez, who was pregnant at the time of the attack, had her children in the apartment with her.
So, Reyes forced the children into Gonzalez's bedroom and proceeded to rape their mother before stabbing her nine times.
He Made His Victims Choose To Keep Their Eyes Or Their Lives
According to two of the women who managed to survive their encounters with Reyes, the sick killer gave them a choice: to keep their eyes or their lives. Apparently, his twisted train of thought was that since his victims hadn't seen his face yet, they could choose between living out the rest of their lives without their sight or he could just kill them and be done with it.
Both of the women chose to keep their lives - so he viciously stabbed at their faces until he was satisfied.
Reyes Liked To Refer To His Victims As "Dates"
One of the most sickening aspects of the assaults that Reyes committed is the fact that he saw them as a way of showing affection for the women he attacked. He would often sneak into a woman's apartment by either pretending that he was the building superintendent's son or he would eschew the subterfuge and just break in.
A detective working on the case said that Reyes even made two of his rape victims shower with him as if they were on a date. An even more sickening twist is that after Reyes raped and murdered Lourdes Gonzalez, he referred to the act as ''making love.''
He Called 911 For One Of His Victims
Matias Reyes had a sick sense of humor when it came to dealing with his victims. On July 19, 1989, Reyes raped a 20-year-old woman in her apartment, and then promptly ran downstairs to the street and rang up 911 from a pay phone. Then he made a trip to the ATM with his victim's debit card, which he stole on his way out of his victim's apartment and used it to get some quick cash.
Reyes's love for irony would later work against him, though. After his arrest, Reyes claimed that he didn't know anything about the previous rapes, but when the audio of his 911 call was played back for him, he cracked and admitted to all of his crimes - except the rape in Central Park.