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Man charged for savagely strangling a trans woman to death with her own hair extension

Josh Milton December 20, 2019
Trans teen woman Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17, had been missing since the summer. (Facebook)

Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17, had been missing since the summer. (Facebook)

A man who strangled a trans teen to death with her own hair extension has been arrested and charged with her murder, Washington, US, law enforcement said.

Missing since early June, loved ones of Nikki Kuhnhausen have scrambled for answers. But Vancouver Police Department officials confirmed they charged fa, 25, with second-degree murder.

Her remains were recovered in a woodland area on December 7 after a hiker found a lone skull and alerted authorities.

Investigators quickly combed the scene and connected Bogdanov and Kuhnhausen together.

Using a search warrant, police scrubbed Bogdanov’s mobile phone and found that the pair had spoken on Snapchat on the day of her death, KGW reported.

Kuhnhausen’s Facebook profile was one full of smiling selfies, videos of her dancing and memes to make her pals laugh in the latest death to ripple through the trans community.

What happened?

Kuhnhausen was last seen leaving a pal’s place on June 6 when she told friends she was visiting an “old Russia male” that she had met the earlier night.

Her mother reported her missing on June 10, but months passed until a break in the case finally came. Someone had discovered her remains in the Larch Mountain range.

“They were collecting bear grass in this rural area of the county and found this human skull,” Vancouver police spokesperson explained.

Police found hair extensions nearby and attached to the hair was “what appeared to be a ligature,” according to the probable cause statement.

Medical examiners later concluded that Kuhnhausen’s death was a homicide by asphyxiation.

Loved ones of Nikki Kuhnhausen had worried about where whereabouts since she went missing in June. (Facebook)
Loved ones of Nikki Kuhnhausen had worried about where whereabouts since she went missing in June. (Facebook)

Clark County Police lieutenant Tom Ryan: “David and Nikki went to a residence in the county and at that time [Nikki] confirmed to him that she was [trans].

“David gave a statement saying that made him really, really uncomfortable and disturbed him, and he asked Nikki to get out of his van and she walked away.”

Ryan continued: “We suspect that there was probably some interaction where — and by his own admission — that he determined that, somehow found out during conversation that she was transgender and he stated that he — that was offensive to his culture and he asked her to get out of his van.”

The eventual arrest and charging of Bogdanov was a long-time coming for authorities, who had been pursuing him since June but were unable to reach him until September.

At the time, the construction worker alleged that he was at work at the time. But police alleged that phone records indicated he “instead drove out to the area of Larch Mountain in east Clark County and returned to [his brother’s] residence approximately an hour and twenty-five minutes later.”

Nikki Kuhnhausen is, at least, the 24th trans person killed in the US this year, activists say.

Her body was found inside an abandoned car, burned beyond recognition.

Her body was dragged out of a lake.

Her body was found with multiple gun wounds, having been beaten “like a punching bag” just a month before in broad daylight in front of groups of men.

This year has seen around 24 trans and gender-diverse people be killed this year, according to a report from the Human Rights Campaign.

However, these numbers understate the problem, activists warn.

Local officials are not required to report killings to central databases in the US, and as authorities may misgender, many trans people’s deaths may go unreported.

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