The New York Police Department is investigating the death of a 23-year-old trans woman found at Orchard Beach in the Bronx on Monday.
Elie Che was found unresponsive by police around 6:09 AM with few details revealing their cause of death, Gay City News reports.
In July, the fashion enthusiast created a GoFundMe campaign titled "Elie Che's Transition and Survival Fund" to help with medical costs and a trip to New York to “live and thrive” among a community of queer people of color. According to Patch, police said Che was a resident of Manhattan and was initially reported missing by a friend who said they never returned from a trip to the beach.
Rest In Peace to my sis Elie Che. Her body was found on a bronx beach early monday. You will not be forgotten. Thank you for showing up and showing out. A vision of beauty. #BlackTransLivesMatter
— ????????SIS THEE ACTIVIST???????? (@ucancallmesis) September 2, 2020
Officers searched the beach with the friend before finding Che with no obvious signs of trauma. The medical examiner’s office hasn't announced a cause of death and a police investigation is ongoing, Patch reports.
Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Ritchie Torres, an openly gay politician, sent their support to the 23-year-old’s family.
“I extend my deepest condolences to her family and loved ones in the wake of this terrible loss. This is an ongoing investigation and the cause of death has yet to be determined,” Biaggi said. “May she rest in peace.”
Torres, potentially headed to the House of Representatives after winning the Democratic primary, wrote on Monday that society must do better protecting the lives of members of the trans community.
“The body of a trans woman, 23, was found dead on Orchard Beach right here in the Bronx. We continue to live in a society that brutally devalues trans lives, often with murderous consequences. All of us must do our part in fighting institutional transphobia,” Torres tweeted.
The body of a trans woman, 23, was found dead on Orchard Beach right here in the Bronx. We continue to live in a society that brutally devalues trans lives, often with murderous consequences. All of us must do our part in fighting institutional transphobia. https://t.co/tTDk3l9tXo
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) August 31, 2020
If Che’s death is ruled a homicide, it would be at least the 27th killing of a transgender person this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Blavity previously reported on a deadly two-week stretch in July where at least five transgender women were killed.
The body of 32-year-old Shakie Peters was found in Louisiana on July 1 and nearby in Baton Rouge, Draya McCarty was found dead on July 4 but police have yet to determine if there are any connecting elements.
Bree Black, 27, was found shot to death in Pompano Beach, Florida on July 3.
In Texas, 22-year-old Merci Mack was found shot to death in a parking lot on June 30, the last day of Pride Month.
To support organizations advocating for Black trans lives, click here.