Maria Fuertes' body was discovered on the sidewalk near Liberty Avenue and 127th Street in Richmond Hill just after midnight Monday.
Police say the elderly woman was approached from behind, assaulted, and knocked to the ground. She was found lying there with neck and back injuries.
Fuertes is known around the neighborhood as the local "cat lady" or "grandma."
Residents say she was beloved in the neighborhood and would come out late at night to feed the stray animals.
Neighbors said she was an amazing woman who took care of the entire neighborhood -- not just the dogs and cats.
"It's upsetting because this is an old woman," neighbor Anthony Davis said. "What need do you need to attack her or hurt her? She has never done nothing to anyone."
After reviewing surveillance video, detectives say Fuertes bumped into an unknown man before falling to the ground.
Now authorities want to talk to the man in the video.
***UPDATE***— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDDetectives) January 9, 2020
The incident regarding the 92-year-old female that was found deceased in the confines of the 106 precinct is now being investigated as a homicide. The NYPD needs the public’s assistance in identifying the person responsible for this heinous crime.
"She was a sweet lady," neighbor Aneil Ram said. "We all knew her since we were small and it's sickening to even hear something like that happening to her."
A report from the Medical Examiner expected this week will provide more answers on her death.