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Suspect arrested in connection to murder of Huston-Tillotson student Natalia Cox

Court documents reveal that Cox had been on a few dates with the man and later reported him to police when he showed up to her apartment with a gun.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Police Department has arrested a suspect accused of murdering Huston-Tillotson University senior Natalia Monet Cox earlier this year.

Officers found Cox dead in her Colonial Grand at Canyon Pointe apartment complex around 2:43 a.m. on March 31, after police received a 911 shoot/stab hotshot call. 

Multiple callers had reported the sound of a door being kicked in and multiple shots being fired in the area. One caller stated they heard what sounded like a verbal disturbance before the shots were fired.

"I looked out and saw all the lights and everyone coming in and I immediately knew something really bad had happened," said Haley Thompson, who lives on the floor above Cox.

When police arrived, they said Cox's apartment appeared to have been forced open. She was found with gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at 3:04 a.m.

As police investigated, they discovered that they had responded to a call about a terroristic threat at these apartments before on March 24. When police arrived, Cox was on the phone with a man named Henry Keith Watson Jr., 24, an acquaintance she said she had recently dated. During that call, she told him she would meet up with him after she finished her homework and then ended the conversation.

After hanging up, Cox told police that she had met Watson only three days prior and he had showed up uninvited to her door with a gun. She reported that she had been on two dates with him, once to get food and another at her apartment

RELATED: Huston-Tillotson University remembers senior killed in Austin apartment shooting

She said that she had been texting Watson and said she was not feeling well and did not want him to come over. She told police that she got a weird reply from him and believed he might be coming to her apartment, so she double-locked the door. She later heard a knock, so she sent him a text asking if he was at the door. He replied telling her to open it, so she FaceTimed him to discover that he had a gun. She said he then told her to open up or he was going to shoot the door open. 

She then told her roommate to call the police. However, she said she was able to talk with Watson through FaceTime to calm him down.

When police arrived to meet with Cox, they said Watson FaceTimed her again. This conversation was recorded on police body camera.

Watson told Cox that he was upset because he believed they had something going on and that she was playing with his emotions. She told him she was really busy with schoolwork, so she would call him back later to meet up.

Credit: Austin Police Department
Henry Keith Watson Jr., 24

After the call, police said Cox said that she was scared to the point that she was visibly shaking. Watson then called her back, but she did not answer. She began crying and told officers that she was afraid he was going to wait there for her, so she and her roommate decided to stay somewhere else that night and police escorted them out of the complex.

"My own situations with online dating and men and feeling vulnerable, it really struck a chord," said Thompson. "It made me worry about my friends and things I had been through."

When police processed that crime scene after the murder, they took fingerprints from the door and retrieved Cox's phone. Police found multiple numbers texting her, one stating that he was Watson's father and saying Watson was suicidal and just wanted to talk to her about what happened. Another stating that his name was "Jay," asking to meet up to work things out and to not bring the cops and yet another saying "call the cops on my bro again and WE gone have probs feel me?" She did not respond to these messages, police said.

Police later located Watson sleeping in his vehicle in Round Rock and obtained a search warrant for it on March 31. Inside they found 9 mm ammunition, the same caliber found at the crime scene, and a pry bar.

Watson was booked on March 31 and was charged with murder, a first-degree felony. He currently remains in the Travis County Jail under a $400,000 bond. Online records also indicate that he's facing a third-degree felony charge of evading arrest in a vehicle.

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