Police officials said the assault on a transgender woman in Queens they investigated as a possible hate crime appears to be a domestic dispute.
Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters at an unrelated event that investigators on the case were looking into an existing relationship between the victim, identified publicly only as Kathy, and her still unnamed attacker.
Boyce said NYPD now believes the man who was seen brutally punching and dragging the woman from her Jackson Heights home to the curb before beating her on the street knew his victim based on neighbors' testimony.
"We were able to find a witness who saw the whole thing from their window," Boyce said.
The victim was assaulted at around 4 a.m. Sunday.
Boyce said that the woman's phone was taken from her unconscious body before the man fled on foot.
"We believe the phone was taken because of text messages back and forth between the two," Boyce said.
He added that the victim would be interviewed by police on Wednesday evening now after recovering from the assault.
The victim remains in Elmhurst Hospital Center under medical supervision, and as of Wednesday was able to speak short sentences according to one person who visited her.
Local activists from and supporters of advocacy group Make the Road plan to protest violence against transgender women on Thursday afternoon not far from the victim's home on 93rd Street.