‘She was like my sister’ | Friends remember murdered Knoxville woman

Friends tell WVLT News Alma Matias knew the people charged in connection to her death.
Friends tell WVLT News Alma Matias knew the people charged in connection to her death.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 8:54 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A jogger discovered Alma Matias’ body along South Northshore Drive in West Knoxville. Four people were arrested in connection to her death.

Previous Coverage: Armed and dangerous: Knoxville man wanted for murder in custody

Makaya Maxwell and Alma Matias have been best friends since she can remember. “We got separation anxiety, like we talk every day. Every day from preschool all the way up. Me and her have made sure we talk to each other every day,” Maxwell said.

Friends say 24 year old Matias was making the most of her life.

On July 29, Maxwell and Matias were texting. Matias had just gotten back to Knoxville, and the two were making arrangements to see each other. Then, Matias stopped responding. Maxwell said she tried calling Matias to no avail. It was out of the ordinary for her to not answer a call.

The next morning, her body was found.

Jason Young faces several charges, including first-degree murder. Rontrell Allen, Tyrone Mack and Jaquaysjha Ryans also face several charges, including accessory after the fact. Ryans overheard Young on the phone earlier in the day accusing Matias of “setting him up,” according to a police report.

Previous Coverage: Two more arrests made after body found in West Knoxville, according to sheriff’s office

Police arrested four people in connection to the murder. Maxwell said she and Matias were friends with the people charged. “You can’t trust nobody. We grew up with the people that did this to her. We grew up with them through school, all that, had a good bond with them,” Maxwell said. “You would never know somebody close to you could just change on you, that they would want to hurt you.”

Maxwell said the betrayal and pain of losing her best friend is unimaginable. She’s working to keep her memory alive, so Matias is remembered for who she was.