When They See Us: Who is Matias Reyes?

When They See Us is a Netflix four-part drama focusing on the trial and sentencing of four young boys known as the Central Park Five. In 1989 a young woman was subject to a brutal attack, which the boys were falsely convicted of. They were released after a man named Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. Here’s what we know about him.

Who is Matias Reyes? 

When They See Us tells the story of five young men who were wrongly convicted of the rape of a 28-year-old woman in Central Park on April 19, 1989.

Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise were all arrested that night in connection with other reports of attacks in Central Park by around 30 teenagers.

The five boys, who were aged between 14 and 16, were later charged with the attack on the jogger.

There was no DNA linking them to the attack but the case rested on the initial confessions given during lengthy interrogations. 

At trial, the group pleaded not guilty but were convicted in 1990 by jury.

Their conviction was later deemed vacant in 2002 and they were released when a man named Matias Reyes confessed to the crime.

Reyes was born in Puerto Rico in 1979 before moving to New York City as a child.

At the time of his confession, he was already serving life in prison as a convicted murderer and rapist.

Reyes was charged in 1991 for committing a number of attacks during the 1980s.

He was caught after one of his victims managed to escape and run for help on August 5, 1989.

Reyes’ confession for his role in the Central Park jogger case came about after he met Wise a number of times in prison.

In 2002, he confessed to committing the crime and gave investigators details of the crime that were not public knowledge.

This led to a re-examining of the initial evidence of the crime, where Reyes’ DNA was matched with that found on the victim.

According to the New York Daily News, prison records released in 2018 revealed what he said to investigators in 2002.

He said: “I know it’s hard for people to understand, after 12 years why a person would actually come forward to take responsibility for a crime.

“At first, I was afraid, but at the end of the day I felt it was definitely the right thing to do.”

Reyes is currently still in prison serving a life sentence.

In the mini-series created by Ava DuVernay, Matias Reyes was played by British actor Reece Noi.

We see him in the final episode we see him transferred to the same prison as Korey Wise (played by Jharrel Jerome).

When They See Us is streaming on Netflix now

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