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‘Go to hell’: Mother of gay teen who was found shot in the head and burned ‘throughout his body’ lashes out at suspected killer following arrest

Isiah Baez being led from 70th Precinct in Brooklyn (Diego Luzuriaga:@FreedomNTV screenshot) and Deandre Matthews (WPIX screenshot)

Isiah Baez being led from 70th Precinct in Brooklyn (Diego Luzuriaga:@FreedomNTV screenshot) and Deandre Matthews (WPIX screenshot)

A 19-year-old man in New York City has been arrested in connection with the brutal murder of a gay college student, three months after the latter man’s body was discovered shot in the head, burned, and discarded on freight train tracks in Brooklyn.

Isiah Baez was taken into custody on Thursday at about 10:30 a.m. and charged with one count of murder, one count of possessing a weapon, and one count of tampering with evidence in the February slaying of 19-year-old Deandre Matthews, the NYPD confirmed to Law&Crime.

Baez is the second person arrested in Matthews’ murder. Police also confirmed that 24-year-old Remy McPrecia was taken into custody last week and charged with one count each of concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence in Matthews’ death.

According to a press release from the NYPD, officers at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7 responded to a 911 call regarding an adult male victim found on the freight train tracks near the 2200 block of Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders located the male victim — later identified as Matthews — “unconscious and unresponsive, with significant burn wounds throughout his body.” Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the scene where they pronounced Matthews dead.

An autopsy determined the victim had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and showed signs of smoke inhalation.

Investigators quickly identified the deceased as Matthews, who was last seen leaving his home in the 100 block of East 56th Street at about 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 6, the day before his body was discovered. He was reported missing by his family the following morning, just hours before his body was located.

Matthews’ sister, Dajanae Gillespie, told police that her brother left work in Crown Heights at about 5 p.m. on Feb. 6, then went back home, borrowed his mother’s SUV, and left his house for the last time. She said that she and her family are baffled as to why her brother was targeted.

“I want to know why [the killer] did it,” Gillespie said in an interview with WNBC. “What was the reason? DeAndre wasn’t a violent person. This wasn’t for retaliation. He wasn’t in the streets.”

Matthews’ mother, Danielle Matthews, reportedly told investigators that she was able to find her SUV using the vehicle’s GPS system, saying it was located outside of a warehouse that had also been recently burned.

“I’m a hurt mother. I have my daughter but that was my son, that was my best friend. He made me a mother,” Danielle Matthews told WNBC after her son’s body was discovered. “Now, as a mother, I’m suffering. My daughter don’t have a big brother. My sister don’t have a nephew, my mother don’t have a grandson.”

Following Baez’s arrest, Matthews’ mother shared some choice words for the accused killer with the New York Daily News.

“He didn’t just shoot my son; he set him on fire and murdered him. I’m just numb,” Danielle Matthews told the newspaper, adding, “Tell Isiah to go to hell.”

Police have not speculated as to a motive for the killing, but reportedly told Matthews’ mother they believe that Baez killed Matthews and then called McPrecia for assistance with moving the body.

Danielle Matthews told the Daily News that her son, who was openly gay, and Baez knew each other and “had been talking for over a year.”

“I really think that he was hiding his true identity,” Danielle Matthews said of Baez. “We know my son was gay but I didn’t really know how they knew each other. He didn’t tell us everything.”

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.