It hasn’t even been a week since Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien was murdered, becoming the first trans person of 2018 to be killed. Unfortunately, Viccki Gutierrez of Los Angeles has become the second trans murder victim of the year. However, in good news, an arrest has been made.
On Jan. 10, Viccki Gutierrez was found burned to death in a suspicious fire. Her body was so badly burned, the police couldn’t confirm it was her. However, Viccki Gutierrez has been missing since the fire in her apartment, the police are assuming the body is hers.
The Los Angeles Fire Department spent 48 minutes battling the fire in the Pico-Union neighborhood. However, a day after the fire, on Jan. 11, a joint LAPD-FBI task force arrested 29-year-old Kevyn Ramirez for Gutierrez’s murder.
Investigators found evidence linking Ramirez to the crime scene. Ramirez was arrested after confessing to killing Gutierrez after a dispute. Ramirez is being held on $2 million bail.
Gutierrez came to Los Angeles from Honduras, and had no family in the area. She was a member of the Los Angeles branch of the TransLatin@ Coalition. The organization provided free lunches for those in need; Guiterrez was often seen volunteering.
In a Facebook live video, Bamby Salcedo, the President and CEO of the national TransLatin@ Coalition, said:
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.
With this arrest, hopefully justice for Viccky will come swiftly.
In 2017, 28 trans people were killed making last year the deadliest year for trans people on record. Sadly, with two murders in as many weeks, 2018 isn’t shaping up to be much better.