Nineteen-year-old Rashawn Brazell left his Brooklyn home on February 14, 2005 with résumés and prepared to go job hunting. He was never seen again. Brazell's dismembered limbs were discovered in trash bags in a subway tunnel and a recycling plant in Brooklyn during the following weeks. There have been no leads and no arrests in the almost nine years since his gruesome murder.
The case was initially ignored by most mainstream and gay media, as well as traditional LGBT advocacy groups—as is often the case in the disappearance or killing of young black LGBT men and women. Months later it gained some traction.
The disappearance of Mitrice Richardson is another case. Richardson's partial skeletal remains were discovered in August 2010 in a Malibu ravine nearly one year after she vanished upon release from jail. Richardson was a lesbian and would have turned 25 in April 2010. Friends and family suspect that she met with foul play.
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has faced mounting criticism ever since Richardson's September 17, 2009 disappearance after being released at 1230AM. The California State-Fullerton student had been arrested for not paying her $89 tab at a Malibu-area restaurant. Richardson's grandmother offered to pay the bill by credit card over the phone, but the restaurant refused. It was later revealed that the former beauty queen was troubled and bi-polar.
NMDL also reports on the recent murders of Deoni Jones, Islan Nettles and the escalating number of Black LGBT women that are viciously attacked and killed. Numerous studies have shown that Black and Latina trans women are at the greatest risk of violence and the murders of Black transgender women are often unsolved. Thankfully there have been arrests in the Jones and Nettles cases.
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