Man injured during alleged assault at Natchez hotel dies in Jackson hospital; new suspect apprehended

Published 10:35 am Saturday, July 22, 2023

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NATCHEZ — A man who was badly injured in an altercation at a Natchez hotel earlier this week has died. Meanwhile, his alleged attacker is in custody awaiting extradition to Natchez, police said.

Adams County Coroner James Lee said he’d received a report from Hinds County officials on Friday that Matias Trevino Sanchez, age 46, has died at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, which is where he’d been airlifted after the alleged assault took place at the Fair Bridge Inn on D’Evereux Drive in Natchez early Sunday.

After the incident, Natchez police arrested Jose Guadalupe Zapien, 26, of Texas. However, after further investigating the case, Commander Jerry Ford said Jose Zapien is the brother of the man who allegedly assaulted Sanchez and took the fall while his brother fled.

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His brother Saul Corona Zapien is in custody and is awaiting extradition to Natchez, Police Chief Cal Green said, adding when that happens Jose Zapien’s earlier charges of aggravated assault would be updated to obstruction of justice.

After the victim’s death, Green said the brother “at the very least” could be charged with manslaughter.

Sanchez, who had been staying in the Natchez for work in Vidalia, was reportedly struck by a coworker and fell to the ground, hitting his head hard enough to cause brain swelling.

He had been airlifted from Natchez to UMMC in critical condition before he succumbed to injuries on Friday.

Lee said the report indicated the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Another autopsy would be performed at the state crime lab, he said.

“It’s a senseless killing to me, and God knows I hope it stops,” Lee said. “My heart goes out to the Sanchez family in their hour of grief.”

Additional details about Saul Zapien’s arrest were not readily available.

This story will be updated with additional details.