Community mourns slain transgender woman

Kyra Kruz (pho­tos provided by Jaden Ro­gers)


Kyra Cor­dova had one fam­ily — a mom, a grand­mom, an aunt. She had a second fam­ily, too — mem­bers of the city’s gay, les­bi­an, bi­sexu­al and trans­gender com­munity.

Both came to­geth­er in sad­ness last Thursday night to share their memor­ies of the trans­gender wo­man they said loved life, but whose days were tra­gic­ally cut short.

Cor­dova, known to many as Kyra Kruz, was found shot to death shortly after 5 a.m. on Sept. 3 in woods on the 1100 block of Adams Ave. She was 27.

Her moth­er, Dawn Ma­h­er, told an over­flow crowd at the me­mori­al ser­vice that she had giv­en birth to a beau­ti­ful baby boy 27 years ago. When that boy, Kris Her­old, turned 16, he told her that he was gay, she said. Kris changed his sexu­al iden­tity, she said, and her beau­ti­ful son be­came a won­der­ful daugh­ter.

She was raised in Hat­field, Mont­gomery County, and gradu­ated from North Penn High in Lans­dale in 2003. She moved to Phil­adelphia about four years ago, said her aunt, Rhonda Her­old.

The trans­gender group BLITZ or­gan­ized the me­mori­al for Cor­dova at the Wil­li­am Way LGBT Com­munity Cen­ter in Cen­ter City, which drew about 200 people. Sev­er­al speak­ers talked about her ded­ic­a­tion, pos­it­ive out­look, vo­lun­teer­ism and act­iv­ism.

Af­ter­ward, many of the mourn­ers lighted candles and walked around the Cen­ter City “gay­bor­hood” centered around 13th and Spruce.

Po­lice last week said of­ficers re­spond­ing to a ra­dio call for a hos­pit­al case on Sept. 3 found Cor­dova with a gun­shot wound to the head. Para­med­ics were called, and Cor­dova was pro­nounced dead at the scene. Po­lice be­lieve she was killed where her body was found. No one has been ar­res­ted in con­nec­tion with the crime.

Ac­cord­ing to a fli­er handed out at the LGBT cen­ter, Cor­dova had pur­chased food and drinks at a nearby Wawa on Castor Av­en­ue. The woods are be­hind a de­part­ment store in an area that is in North­wood, where that neigh­bor­hood ends and Ju­ni­ata be­gins. Frank­ford Av­en­ue is a few blocks to the east.

Last Thursday, friends and ac­quaint­ances de­scribed Kyra Cor­dova as a pos­it­ive force who brightened her sur­round­ings and as someone ded­ic­ated to ser­vice.

Cor­dova came in­to the of­fice of the Gay and Les­bi­an Latino AIDS Edu­ca­tion Ini­ti­at­ive to vo­lun­teer, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or Eli­cia Gonzales said Sept. 3. She al­most im­me­di­ately cre­ated a Power­Point present­a­tion of the non-profit or­gan­iz­a­tion’s ser­vices, Gonzales said. Her en­er­get­ic vo­lun­teer­ism soon turned in­to a part-time job as an HIV test­er.

“But she worked full-time,” Gonzales said, stress­ing Cor­dova’s ded­ic­a­tion.

Phil­adelphia Gay News last week re­por­ted Cor­dova was act­ive in gay pride events and was a vo­lun­teer for the At­tic Youth Cen­ter, a non-profit that of­fers ser­vice to young gay, les­bi­an, bi­sexu­al and trans­gender people as well as young people who are ques­tion­ing their sexu­al iden­tit­ies.

Friend Qui Al­ex­an­der, who is a youth fa­cil­it­at­or at At­tic, said they both had their names leg­ally changed re­cently on the same day, in the same courtroom.

Al­ex­an­der said he didn’t know where Cor­dova was liv­ing. Po­lice said last week they had no ad­dress for her.

“She moved around a lot,” Al­ex­an­der said.

Ma­h­er said she be­lieved her daugh­ter was work­ing days at a store in the Leo Mall in Somer­ton. She said Kyra re­cently had moved and was rent­ing a room, but she nev­er got the ad­dress.

Aunt Rhonda Her­old said fam­ily mem­bers have been try­ing to work out where Kyra was liv­ing. She said they’re hear­ing either E Street or some­where in Frank­ford, close to the El.

She said her niece was 6 feet tall and had black hair.

Kyra Kruz was the name Cor­dova used on so­cial me­dia sites. On her Face­book page, she wrote, “I mod­el. I per­form. I love life and I love to learn.”  ••

Any­one with in­form­a­tion about the murder should call hom­icide de­tect­ives at 215-686-3334. End­Frag­ment

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