A beloved trans Latina woman allegedly killed in Lubbock, Texas, has become 2022’s third victim of an unceasing “epidemic of violence” in the US.
Cypress Ramos, a 21-year-old who could always be found smiling and cheering on her friends, was found dead in a storage unit on the morning of 12 February.
She died of blunt force trauma to the head after being struck by an unspecified hard object, according to the murder warrant for 32-year-old Allan Montemayor, who has been charged for Ramos’ murder, KCBD reported.
Ramos was found inside a locked container in the 2700 block of North Frankford Avenue after a fire was reported by a neighbour. Lubbock Fire Rescue put out the blaze only to discover a “dead body” inside at 11.30am.
As police arrived at the storage unit, officers elsewhere were dispatched to Montemayor who told cops he “f**ked up” and that there was a body in a storage unit set on fire.
Surveillance footage showed Montemayor’s pickup truck parked outside the unit. Both he and Ramos entered the unit – one hour and 20 minutes later, only he left and drove away.
When pressed by police about what took place inside, the warrant said he simply “shrugged and stated: ‘Isn’t it apparent?’” He alleged that Ramos has set a fire before coming at him with a bat and, “at this point, it was either me or [her],” Montemayor added, misgendering the victim.
Montemayor later told detectives that he believed a “song” had compelled Ramos to launch an attack against him in the unit. He also said, however, that the same song gave him instructions to kill the victim.
Lubbock County Sheriff investigators said that Montemayor had blood on his legs as well as his pants, said Ramos’ friend, drag queen Camilla Urbina, to KCBD.
“He tried to burn my friend, literally,” she alleged. “Like burn, burn them up.”
“There was blood on his pants, I believe that something else happened. And the truth will come out. And you will pay, promise.”
Montemayor is currently in the Lubbock County Detention Center where he is held on a $500,000 bond for a charge of murder.
Cypress Ramos was ‘always smiling’ and ‘loved everyone,’ friends say
According to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT+ campaign group that has been monitoring trans homicide rates since 2013, Ramos is “at least” the third trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming person violently killed in 2022.
It comes after last year’s record-breaking death tally of at least 56, many of them Black trans women, an already dizzyingly high figure that has continued to climb as more homicide cases emerge months after 2021 came to an end.
HRC has long warned that its own count is likely inaccurate, given that three-fourths of trans victims are misgendered and deadnamed by the police and press.
The American Medical Association has warned of an “epidemic of violence” against trans Americans – a statement repeated by president Joe Biden. The latest victim of this wave of violence, Ramos, was to those who knew her a “friend, a sister, a daughter”.
“Cypress was always smiling,” a friend of Ramos told Equality Texas in a statement on Saturday (19 February). “She was so tiny, so it felt like my arms wrapped around her three times.
“She just loved everyone,” the friend said before Equality Texas added: “A bright light like Cypress deserved to shine bright for much longer.”
The state-level advocacy group said a candlelight vigil in honour of Ramos’ life was held later that day at Tim Cole Memorial Park.
“Cypress Ramos’ death was an awful end to such a young life,” Tori Cooper, who leads HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement.
“Her story highlights how trans women of colour are still devalued in our society.
“We must all work to end the epidemic of violence against transgender and non-binary people. May justice be served in this case.”
In 2022, the community has so far mourned: Amariey Lej and Duval Princess.