25 July 2008

Mourning Angie Zapata

Eighteen year old Angie Zapata was murdered in Greeley, Colorado on July 17, 2008 in her apartment.

One possible motive for the crime is that, at one time, she was known as Justin Zapata. It could have been a hate crime targeted at her because she was a transgender women.

She "craved friends, family and teen pursuits such as talking on the telephone and using a camera. . . . and dreamed of being Miss Latina. 'Her appearance meant everything to her other than being on her phone or taking pictures,' according to the obituary."

A public funeral service was held July 23, 2008, at The Healing Place, in Brighton, Colorado (an affiliate of The Foursquare Church). At the bilingual religous service she was remembered by friends and family:

The way she would spoil her niece and nephew, even quitting a job to take care of them, as two friends reminisced during the service. The way she loved roses, the colors red and black, and way she always made sure her makeup was good -- even simply when taking a trip to Wal-Mart.

Perhaps, most of all, however, was the way she never backed down from who she was, instead saving the energy to care for her friends and family.

"She was always happy," said Alicia Portillo, one of Angie's friends. "She loved music. She didn't care what people thought of her. She always just wanted to be who she was and that was female and to be loved."

Portillo even said Zapata's courage helped her with her own identity as a lesbian.

"Angie gave me the power to not care what people thought of me."

The statement released by Angie Zapata's sister Monica Zapata on behalf of her family stated:

We want the whole community involved to find this person who hurt my sister and to let everyone be aware that all she wanted was to be beautiful. We want this violence to end. Transgender people deserve to be treated with respect.

According to the Greeley Tribune:

A search warrant for Zapata's apartment in the 2000 block of 4th Street indicates the victim suffered fatal wounds to the head and face. . . .Her body was found Thursday [July 17, 2008] in the apartment, according to the warrant. After family members were unable to reach her by telephone, her sister went to the house and got a key from the landlord. She found Zapata lying on the living room floor, covered by a blanket. She was already dead.

The identity and motives of her killer are unknown, although one blog states that:

Police indicate that they have information that might lead to an arrest and have not ruled out that this might be a hate crime but they have also indicated that the killer or killers might be acquaintances of the victim.

The police have asked for help from the public:

Police are looking for Zapata's car, a green 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser with Colorado license plate number 441-ORN. There is a hubcap missing on the front passenger side and paint missing on the front bumper of the driver's side under the headlight. . . . Anyone with information about Zapata's murder should call Greeley police at 970-350- 9600.

According to this blog (repeated at a couple of other places):

Donations in Angie Zapata’s honor maybe made at Academy Bank in Wal-Mart, 60 W. Bromley Lane or checks made payable to Monica Murquia may be mailed to Colorado Anti-Violence Program, P.O. Box 181085, Denver, CO 80218.

This world seems to have too many senseless tragedies. Angie Zapata's murder was one of them. There are too few answers.

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