Family, Friends Mourn Loss of Transgender Woman Found Dead in Orange County

The cause of the death has not been established.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The body of a well-known Latino community activist, a transgender woman, was found in Anaheim behind a Dairy Queen Friday morning prompting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. Mekahlo Medina reports from Santa Ana for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Friday, June 13, 2014.

    Family and friends were mourning the loss of a well-known community activist and transgender woman who was found dead under suspicious circumstances behind a Dairy Queen in Anaheim Thursday.

    The body was discovered around 10:50 a.m. in a parking lot in the 200 block of North State College Boulevard, Anaheim Police Department Lt. Bob Dunn said.

    Friends identified the victim as Zoraida Reyes, 28, as an immigrant transgender woman who worked with community groups such as the Orange County Dream Team, DeColores Queer Orange County and Familia.

    Police had not confirmed the victim's identity as of Friday morning.

    Reyes was born in Michoacan, Mexico and attended high school in Santa Ana, her friend Rafael Solorzano said. She went on to UC Santa Barbara where she explored her passion for activism.

    “She started organizing in 2007 and 2006 for the DREAM Act," Solorzano said. "She educated young people and adults about the importance about giving access to immigrants.”

    A vigil was scheduled for Reyes Friday in Santa Ana. Friends and family were expected to meet at the Santa Ana Plaza at the corner of 4th and French streets at 5:30 p.m.

    "It's a difficult day for all of us," Solorzano said. 

    Solorzano added that the vigil would “celebrate her how she celebrated herself daily."

    Though authorities have not determined whether Reyes' death was a homicide, Orange County LGBT leaders were calling for a stop to hate violence.

    “It is time for the entire community to stand with our trans sisters and brothers and stop this slaughter," said Kevin O’Grady, executive director of The Center OC, in a statement.

    The cause of the death has not been established. It has not yet been ruled a homicide.

    NBC4's Kevin LaBeach and Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

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