Matiss, a crime reporter with the Liepaja-based daily Kurzeme Vards,
was attacked on November 15 in the stairwell of his apartment building
after he returned home from a shopping expedition. In a phone
conversation from the hospital two hours after the attack, Matiss told
the paper's editor-in-chief, Andzilss Remess, that someone followed him
home and hit him from behind with a truncheon or club. He was struck
several times on the head, arms, and legs. The assailant fled when
neighbors interrupted the attack.
Matiss underwent three operations and fell into a coma. He died on
November 28 from a brain hemorrhage. The reporter had most recently
investigated the contraband alcohol trade in Liepaja, according to
Though the police cited robbery, personal revenge, and retaliation for
his journalism as possible motives, Matiss had not been robbed, and
does not seem to have been involved in any serious personal dispute.
His editor told CPJ: "Matiss knew a lot about the criminal world. He
was one of those reporters who went deep." At press time, the police
investigation was still ongoing.