This gay man was left for dead and his family are still searching for answers
A 22-year-old man was attacked and burned in what his family allege is possibly a homophobic hate crime.
Aaron Salazar, a student at Portland State University, was travelling from Colorado to Oregon when he was found lying near the tracks in the station at Truckee, California, on May 15.
Amtrak authorities investigating the case have said there is no evidence of criminal intent, but Salazar’s family believe he was beaten into a coma because he is gay.
The family have become suspicious of the authorities’ handling of the case, accusing them of being slow to respond and declining to answer their questions.
Salazar’s mother, Sonia Trujillo, told the Reno Gazette Journal: “I’m willing to do anything, whatever I need to do to figure out what’s going on.
“I don’t know if they’re trying to protect the train or if they’re trying to protect the people.”
According to a fundraiser set up by the family, Salazar is currently fighting for his life with multiple brain injuries, a broken pelvis, and severe burns on his thigh.
He is also said by relatives to have bruising consistent with a struggle and blood under his fingernails.
However, in recent updates, he is said to have opened his eyes and made good progress under the care of doctors in the ICU of a local Reno hospital. Now the family are demanding answers from Amtrak, which they say is withholding information.
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The family’s spokesperson, and Salazar’s cousin, Austin Salias said: “We have been asking and calling and they have been withholding even the simplest answers, like where was Aaron found and what time.“
“Simple questions that any parent would like to know. As for his parents, they need answers for their peace of mind. They just want to know their son didn’t suffer in pain for hours and hours.”
They have now sought legal counsel over the handling of the case, Salias added, and are preparing for a long and expensive fight for answers.
Amtrak has responded with a public statement saying: “The Amtrak Police Department is conducting an ongoing investigation into this incident. At this time, there is nothing to suggest criminal intent.”
Robert Leftwich, the Truckee Chief of Police said that Amtrak had jurisdiction over the case, but added that his thoughts were with Aaron and his family.