Police announced this week that they have identified a person of interest in the killing of local transwoman Kyra Cordova.
Cordova was gunned down Sept. 3 in Frankford. Her body was found in the early hours of Labor Day in a wooded area off the 1100 block of Adams Avenue. She had been shot in the head.
Newly appointed LGBT liaison Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel said this week that progress is being made.
“They believe they have identified a person of interest but there is still a lot of investigating to do. But they have moved in a more positive direction,” he said. “There are no witnesses or video, but they have made significant movement toward someone they believe may have committed this crime.”
The person’s identity or details about the motive were not being released at presstime.
Surveillance video captured Cordova, 27, at a nearby Wawa shortly before the killing, purchasing two drinks and sandwiches. She was alone at the time.
Cordova’s mother, Dawn Maher, and her family met with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other police officials last month about the case.
Also in October, a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer was launched.
Maher said she’s eager for the reward money to move the case forward.
“I’m just hoping that’ll encourage people to do what’s right and tell what they know,” she said. “Hopefully it’ll help us catch the person.”
Elicia Gonzales, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative, where Cordova used to work, said she and other members of the Justice for Kyra coalition recently laid a memorial at the area where Cordova’s body was found and distributed information in the neighborhood.
“We went door to door and asked people around the neighborhood if they’d heard anything, and they seemed cooperative and eager to help,” she said. “Some were actually alarmed because they hadn’t heard about it but many others had. It seems like the police are reaching out to folks up there who could have seen or heard something, so right now on the one hand it’s frustrating given the fact that Kyra was such a remarkable person, but on the other hand, I feel like people are doing what they can do.”
Bethel said he’s confident investigators are proceeding properly.
“They talk about how the early hours after an incident are when the environment is most fertile to grab information, but we have a fantastic homicide unit that has a fantastic clearance rate, even on cases that go way back,” he said. “Sometimes these jobs take a while; they require the collection of a significant amount of evidence. We want to do it right to make sure we have a great case so a person cannot only be arrested but convicted.”
Bethel acknowledged that the lack of an arrest is hard for loved ones and the community, but emphasized that investigators are invested in the case.
“I understand that it can be frustrating if a case doesn’t resolve quickly, especially for people on the outside, not knowing. But it has to be done properly.”
Maher and family participated in a number of Transgender Day of Remembrance events last week, during which Cordova was often referenced.
While the spirit behind TDOR hit too close to home for her, Maher said she appreciates the constant support she has received from the LGBT community in the last three months.
“It’s been very hard but I really enjoyed attending all the events,” she said. “People have been very supportive, and it’s nice to know my child was loved and cared about by so many.”
She added that a mayoral proclamation recognizing TDOR and naming Cordova and other local victims — which was read by city director of LGBT affairs Gloria Casarez at William Way LGBT Community Center and The Colours Organization — “was just amazing.”
Gonzales said community members should continue to circulate information about the murder to help catch the killer.
“People can join the Justice for Kyra page on Facebook, can help flyer; we’re definitely always looking for more hands to help,” she said. “This is about finding her killer but it’s also about honoring her and her life and keeping her memory alive.”
From our media partners PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News.