A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a transgender woman in Orange County following a botched off-the-books silicone injection, police said the same day friends and family gathered to remember the victim.
Investigators also believe other "patients" may have received similar illegal treatments, police said Friday, and are asking them to come forward.
Santa Ana police investigators said 40-year-old Katya De La Riva died three weeks after checking herself into an Irvine hospital Jan. 1 because she was having difficulty breathing. Her death is believed to have been triggered by an embolism caused by a silicone injection.
Liborio De La Luiz Ramos, 44, has been charged with voluntary manslaughter for allegedly administered the injection, apparently at a "silicone party" in Santa Ana.
In May 2014, Ramos, who may also be a transgender woman, spoke to the press and identified himself as Valeria De La Ruiz while at a rally urging officials to have jail cells set aside specifically for gays, lesbians and transgender prisoners.
Ramos is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Silicone injections are often used during the transition process to help people feel comfortable in their bodies, Tony Viramontes, who works with transgender men and women at the LGBT Center OC, told NBC4.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
"They found happiness in seeing their body takes shape. They have hips and a full buttocks and they feel feminine," Viramontes said.
Family and friends attended a vigil for De La Riva Friday night at Funeraria Latino Americana on Cerritos Avenue in Anaheim.
De La Riva was active in the transgender community.
Anyone who may have received silicone injections from Ramos is asked to call detectives at 714-245-8390.