Victoria Ramos Gutierrez, a Honduran trans woman, was stabbed to death and then set ablaze in Los Angeles last Wednesday, NBC Los Angeles reports.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office contends that Kevyn Ramirez, 29, attempted to rob Ramos Gutierrez, who he had met online, in her Pico-Union apartment.
Ramos Gutierrez’s body was so badly scorched that officers could not immediately identify her, leaving local activists of the TransLatin@ Coaliton, a group to which the woman — who friends called “Viccy” — was a member of, to publicly announce the death and call for action.
“It is with deep sadness, rage and pain that I have to share with all of you that one of our sisters was brutally murdered in #southlosangeles last night,” Bamby Salcedo, president and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, wrote in a Facebook post.
It is with deep sadness, rage and pain that I have to share with all of you that one of our sisters was brutally…
She added: “Just to learn that she’s no longer with us is really sad. And it’s not that she is gone, it is the way that she was murdered. She was brutally murdered, and we believe that it was intention, we believe that it was premeditated. … She was burned in her apartment. The police, like always, try to say to Viccky’s friends not to say anything to anybody because of the investigation. … But there’s a couple of things that we want to do. One of those things is to ensure that we seek justice for Viccky.”
Ramirez, who initially admitted to the stabbing and fire, is being charged with murder, attempted robbery and arson, and faces capital punishment or life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has pleaded not guilty and is expected in court on Feb. 22.
Ramos Gutierrez is the second trans woman to be murdered this year. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, founder of the Miss Trans America pageant, was killed in her home in North Adams, Massachusetts on Jan. 5. Her husband has been charged in her death.
May both women rest in power.