Community mourns, investigation continues in Cordova case
by Jen Colletta
Sep 20, 2012 | 1654 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>CANDLES IN THE WIND:</b> The family of Kyra Cordova led a procession of about 300 friends and family on a candlelight walk Sept. 15 through the streets of the Gayborhood. Cordova, a former HIV tester and trans-youth advocate, was murdered Sept. 3, and her killer has yet to be identified. Occasional breezes spurred some candle-relighting during the walk, and family members commented on how they felt Kyra was behind the mischievousness. The group congregated at the William Way LGBT Community Center before the walk, where friends and family members shared memories of Kyra’s life and personality. Photo: Scott A. Drake
CANDLES IN THE WIND: The family of Kyra Cordova led a procession of about 300 friends and family on a candlelight walk Sept. 15 through the streets of the Gayborhood. Cordova, a former HIV tester and trans-youth advocate, was murdered Sept. 3, and her killer has yet to be identified. Occasional breezes spurred some candle-relighting during the walk, and family members commented on how they felt Kyra was behind the mischievousness. The group congregated at the William Way LGBT Community Center before the walk, where friends and family members shared memories of Kyra’s life and personality. Photo: Scott A. Drake
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There was barely standing room in the lobby of the William Way LGBT Community Center last week as several-hundred community members came together to mourn a murder victim.

The Sept. 13 vigil for Kyra Cordova drew family and friends of the victim, as well as a wealth of strangers, who together called for justice.

Police continue to investigate the Labor Day murder but have yet to identify a suspect or motive.

Cordova was found with a gunshot wound to the head Sept. 3 in a wooded area off the 1100 block of Adams Avenue in Frankford.

Police spokesperson Lt. Ray Evers said investigators have little information.

“We don’t have much right now,” he said.

Evers said investigators determined Cordova was killed at the location where she was found.

A call came in to police around 5 a.m., and Evers said the shooting apparently took place shortly before.

“We believe we found her somewhat in a timeframe of less than a day, maybe a couple hours, of when this happened,” he said.

Evers declined to say who called to report the body.

Cordova was last seen at a Wawa about a half-mile from the scene, purchasing two sandwiches and two drinks.

Evers said Cordova was captured on surveillance video but she was alone.

“It seems she got enough food for more than one person but she was by herself at that time,” he said.

Cordova did not live in the immediate area, but investigators believe she was on her way to a nearby location, which police could not disclose, Evers said.

Evers said police do not believe the murder is indicative of any pattern.

Before setting off on a candlelight vigil through the Gayborhood last week, mourners heard from the victim’s mother, Dawn Maher, who described how Cordova came out at age 16 and two years later told her she was going to transition.

She called her daughter a “fierce, loving, compassionate” person and said she often “just couldn’t understand why so many people could hate her so much just for being who she was.”

Elicia Gonzales, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative, for which Cordova worked as an HIV tester from 2010-11, said Cordova symbolized “light.”

“To say she had a lust for life is a gross understatement,” Gonzales told the crowd. “I learned more from her than I think she ever learned from me.”

Qui Alexander, who relaunched The Attic Youth Center’s Youth, Trans & Unified with Cordova in 2010, said Cordova was “so excited” to be involved in that initiative.

“She didn’t see her potential,” he said. “She was a star and everyone in this room knew that.”

Gonzales encouraged the participants to embrace emotions as they deal with Cordova’s death.

“If you’re angry, be angry. If you’re sad, be sad. And if you’re happy, be happy,” she said. “Because Kyra was all of that wrapped into one.

“She was loved, and she taught people to love each other,” Gonzales added. “Tonight is a sign of hope — that we can love each other and heal, and I hope that continues past today.”

Evers urged community members to contact investigators at 215-686-3334/35 with any tips.

“We’re working on any leads, so if anyone in the community may know something that would help us out, please give us a call,” he said. “Maybe someone who knew her patterns, knew where she went, would have information that could be helpful.”

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