Femicides continue as another trans woman is fatally shot; no progress on Alexa’s murder case
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
Agents from the Homicide Division of the Mayagüez Criminal Investigation Corps (CIC by its Spanish initials) are investigating the killing of Michelle “Michellyn” Ramos Vargas, a 33-year-old trans woman who was found dead Wednesday at 6:15 a.m. on Road 114, km 10.1 in the Sabana Grande Abajo neighborhood of San Germán.
According to a report from the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), a phone call from the 9-1-1 emergency line alerted authorities that a person had been found lying on the pavement. After authorities arrived at the scene, they confirmed that the body found there was Ramos Vargas, who lived at Residencial El Carmen in Mayagüez. Her body was identified by her brother Dennise Ramos, who arrived on the scene with other relatives.
Mayagüez Prosecutor’s Office attorney José Arocho, who appeared on the scene and ordered the removal and transfer of the body to the Forensic Sciences Institute (FSI), told digital outlet Noticel that “no angle is being ruled out.”
“There is a possibility that it was a hate crime, but we do not rule out anything,” he said. “We are beginning the investigation process.”
The PRPB said that Vargas Ramos’s body had sustained various gunshot wounds to the head, which caused her death. Authorities also found official documents and identification that bore her deadname, which is the name the Lajas native had before transitioning.
Trans rights activist and Camp Albizu Executive Coordinator Joanna Cifredo de Fellman pointed out that Ramos Vargas was the sixth trans person murdered in Puerto Rico this year. Layla Peláez (21), Serena Angelique Velázquez (32), Penélope Díaz Ramírez (31), and Alexa Luciano Ramos (29) were trans women who were slain earlier this year, and those cases remain unsolved. Meanwhile, Yampi Méndez Arocho (19), a transgender man, was killed in his hometown of Moca and his case also remains unsolved.
“Her name is Michelle Ramos Vargas and she was my age. Her passion, like mine, was helping other people; that’s why she decided to study nursing,” Cifredo de Fellman said. “Here is another sad example that gender perspective is urgently needed to educate our youth to recognize, respect, and celebrate the differences between us. … I wonder how long we will continue to ignore sexist violence because, although we do not know the murderer’s identity, we already know that it was a man. Now they will come with their transphobia to make excuses and justify her death. Who has the right to take someone’s life? Tell me!”
No progress in Alexa’s murder case
As for Alexa, who was also known as Neulisa Luciano Ramos, Bayamón CIC Captain Richard Haddock told the Star that her case is still ongoing. However, there have been no advancements and he called on citizens to call 787-343-2020 for any confidential tips to help solve the case.
Asked if the video released on social media that showed Alexa being mocked and attacked by assailants in an open field could be of any use in the case, Haddock said “the case’s prosecutor is consulting to see if they can use the video as evidence of a crime in court.”
Meanwhile, as Bayamón CIC is in charge of the case of 20-year-old Rosimar Rodríguez Gómez, who was abducted in Toa Baja and found dead in Dorado’s El Caracol sector, Haddock said the prosecutors in that case have indicated that “no more statements about the case will be given because they are affecting the ongoing investigation.”