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Gwen Amber Rose Araujo (Edward Araujo, Jr.) (17) was beaten to death at a party when several men found out she had male genitalia
Published: Mar 12, 2007 @ 8:14 PM
Gwen Amber Rose Araujo (17)
Dec 04, 2002
Cause of Death:
Beaten to Death
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Gwen Amber Rose Araujo (February 24, 1985 - October 4, 2002, née Edward Araujo, Jr.) was a transgendered teenager who died during or shortly after being attacked by multiple individuals. The events leading up to Araujo's death were the subject of a pair of criminal trials in which it was alleged that the attackers were angered by the discovery that Araujo - who, at the time, was living as female - was biologically male. In the most recent trial, two of the defendants were convicted of second-degree murder, but the jury concluded that no hate crime was committed. The circumstances of the case have caused it to become a rallying point for the LGBT community, and a number of underreported and controversial aspects about the case and about Gwen's murder remain points of contention.
Araujo, who was going by the name "Lida" at the time, was introduced to a circle of friends whom she met during a chance encounter while walking down a local street. The group of young adults enjoyed passing the evening hours with party activities that included playing dominos and consuming drugs and alcohol at the home of Araujo's to-be assailants. Araujo was reported to have engaged in sexual activities with at least two of the men from the group. She was later invited back to the house where a party was planned a few weeks after she and the men had first met. She wore her mother's peasant blouse to the party, although her mother had asked her not to wear the clothing she had picked out for that evening and expressed her discomfort with Araujo's appearance. Araujo told her mother that she was just being jealous of her. This was the last time Sylvia Guerrero saw her child alive.
At the party on (October 3, 2002) it was discovered, by forced inspection (conducted by a young woman at the party), that Araujo had male genitalia. In an explosion of activity, the men that she had sexual relations with became extremely agitated. Once it was discovered that Gwen Araujo was biologically male, Mike Magidson began choking her in the hallway of the house. At this point numerous guests left the residence. Jose Merel and Jaron Nabors remained inside the residence with Mike Magidson. Jason Cazares claimed to go outside at this point, however he did not leave because he had arrived in Mike Magidson's truck. Once everyone left, the three assailants began assaulting Araujo. Jose Merel struck her over the head with a frying pan and then struck again with a can of tomatoes, causing a gash to her head which bled profusely. Jaron Nabors struck her with a barbell weight. Mike Magidson kneed her in the head against the living room wall. The blow was so forceful that her head caused an indentation in the plaster wall. After some time in the living room, Araujo was then taken to the garage of the home, where she was strangled by a rope (stories conflict as to whether Mike Magidson or Jaron Nabors strangled the victim). Most accounts have Jose Merel cleaning blood out of the carpet at the time she was strangled. She was then hog-tied, wrapped in a blanket and placed in the bed of a pick-up truck. The three assailants, plus Jason Cazares drove her body to parkland in El Dorado County, California, a wooded area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada known as Silver Fork, where she was finally buried in a shallow grave. It is not clear at what point during this sequence of events Araujo's death occurred. However the autopsy showed that she died from strangulation associated with blunt force trauma to the head.
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