A transgender woman who was burnt to death is the second to be killed in the US this year.
Viccky Gutierrez was brutally murdered on Wednesday (January 10) in the morning.
The Los Angeles Police Department has not confirmed that it was Gutierrez’s body that was found but a close founder of the deceased has said that it was her.
TransLatin@ Coalition founder Bamby Salcedo claimed that it was Gutierrez who died in a Facebook Live video.
Salcedo said that they know for sure the burned body is that of Gutierrez and they believe she was “brutally murdered”.
“It’s not just that she is gone—it is the way that she was murdered. She was brutally murdered. We believe that it was intentional. We believe it was premeditated,” she said in the Facebook video.
Salcedo explained that they believe she was killed before she was burnt based on the friend of Gutierrez’s who saw the victim the evening before.
“Her body was burned so we think she was murdered before they got there. It’s not confirmed – police are still investigating. But one of her closest friend, Cristy – who comes from the same small town in Honduras—had dinner with her that night and said she was okay.
“So there is a lot of speculation — we know the danger we experience every day. We think it’s possible she was killed before they burned her apartment. She was completely unrecognizable.
“People kept calling her cell phone and she didn’t answer. It was late at night and her neighbours were sleeping and no one heard her screaming. So my assumption is that she was dead or unconscious before she was burned. That’s why I’m 99% sure she was brutally murdered and burned to death,” Salcedo said.Salcedo knew the victim, who was from Honduras, from the TransLatin@ Coalition.
The victim was reportedly a sex worker and Salcedo believes that she may have faced issues because of this.
“There’s a strong possibility it came from work. It’s what we have to do. But we just don’t know. We asked the LAPD to check her cell phone but everything was burned,” Salcedo said.
She added that Gutierrez was “such a sweet girl”.
“She was our sister”.
LAPD spokesperson Officer Drake Madison confirmed that the LA Fire Department and a police division responded to a fire at 3.15 am on Wednesday in the Pico Union district.
The flames were contained to the attic of the block on South New Hampshire Boulevard.
One person was found dead inside and the death is being treated as suspicious, although no further information has been given as yet.
“This is a high priority case for us,” LAPD Det. Sharon Kim.
An autopsy and official identification are expected to be released by the end of the day.
A vigil of resistance will be held for Gutierrez on Friday, January 12 from 7:00p-10:00pm at 1660 Venice Blvd, LA 90006.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Salcedo to pay for the funeral costs.
LAPD Det. Sharon Kim asks that anyone with information or tips call: 213-382-9470.
If the reports are confirmed, Gutierrez will be the second transgender woman killed in the US this year.
Christa Leigh was found wrapped in bedding, plastic sheeting and tar pooling in the basement of their home.
She had been stabbed a number of times, with the blood loss leading to her death.
She also had blunt force trauma to the head.
Christa Leigh was known for founding and running Miss Trans New England and Miss Trans America pageants.
According to a police report of his first interview, he confessed to the murder and said that he had done “something very bad”.
The defendant told police in an interview prior to his pleas that his wife was “always belittling him” and that he eventually “snapped”.
He told police how he took a hammer and hit her in the back of the head before stabbing her in the back.
However, in his arraignment he entered a not guilty plea.