Trans Woman’s Murder in Washington Makes 2019 Deadliest Year on Record for Transgender Americans


November 20, 2018: A large crowd stands with their candles at the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance in Long Beach, California.

Nikki Kuhnhausen won’t be graduating from Hudson’s Bay High School this spring. She won’t even turn 19.

On December 7, the 18-year-old was found dead after a six-month search that ended in a grassy field in her hometown of Vancouver, Washington.

Kuhnhausen will be counted as the 27th transgender homicide victim of 2019 nationally in a year that is now tied for the most deadly on-record for transgender people. 2017 also saw 27 transgender murders, which at the time was an all-time high. With 12 days left on the calendar, this year threatens to overtake that number.

Since June, Kuhnhausen’s mother, Lisa Woods, has begged local residents and Facebook followers to help her in tracking down her missing daughter. Day after day, Woods posted on her social media that she loves Kuhnhausen and wasn’t sleeping.

On December 7, someone found remains in a remote area of Larch Mountain, according to the Vancouver Police Department. On Tuesday, 25 year-old David Y. Bogdanov was charged with killing Kuhnhausen.

“My beautiful baby girl is gone,” Woods wrote on her Facebook. “God please help me.”

Vancouver police say that Kuhnhausen and Bohdandov planned a meeting over Snapchat on June 5.

“A search warrant for the Snapchat account of the male she had been communicating with, David Bogdanov, corroborated that the two had met and that he had transported her in his vehicle,” police said in a media statement.

Detectives interviewed Bogdonov, and he said that he met up with Kuhnhausen on June 5. They had a conflict that day, and he asked to get out his van.

“Bogdonov stated Nikki walked away and he never saw her after that,” police said.

An examination of Bogdonov’s phone showed him in the area where Kuhnhausen’s body was found on June 6, say police. They believe he killed her after discovering she was trans.

Bogdanov is being held on second degree murder charges without bail, according to jail records.

The teen’s death has sent shockwaves through Portland’s LGBTQ community.

Kate Sosin is an award-winning, trans-identified news and investigative reporter.



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