‘Everybody’s going to remember Felycya’: Friends seek justice after murder of transgender woman

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 11:25 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - What was first considered a suspicious death is now being investigated as a homicide. 33-year-old Felycya Harris was found dead at Meadowbrook Park on Saturday.

The Richmond County Coroner’s Office said she was shot one time. She is also the third transgender person to be killed in the area in the last year so she was not the only case of violence transgender women face in their own communities.

“I went outside and we were just sitting in the car, laughing and talking and jiving on each other,” said Ricola Collier, a friend of Harris.

A life came to a sudden end, and so did the memories when Harris was found shot to death at Meadowbrook Park.

“I just want justice to be served for my friend,” Collier said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are roughly 1 million transgender adults in the United States, and Felycya was one of them.

“Typically, the only time people listen to trans people, and trans women specifically, is when we become victims of a homicide. And then it’s already too late,” said Naomi Simmons-Thorne, a trans-rights activist.

And it happens everywhere. A survey by the Virginia Department of Public Health found 55 percent of transgender people interviewed reported being victims of violence or crime.

“Trans people, trans identities being seen as cultural taboo,” Simmons-Thorne said. “We become easy targets because you’re hyper-visible.”

Friends of Harris say the world lost a great decorator -- dancer-- a sweet soul-- who liked to connect with people on Facebook Live.

“Only thing we got left now is just the memories and the pictures, and the videos,” Collier said. “Since the day I found out what happened, I go back and watch the videos every day,”

But friends say, even without the videos, Felycya isn’t someone you just forget.

“Everybody’s going to remember Felycya. That laugh. The smile -- the smiles. The talks. The arguments. The attitudes. Everybody is going to remember who Felycya Harris is. Nobody would ever forget who that is,” Collier said.

Richmond County investigators are still searching for a suspect in this case. Give them a call if you have any information at 706-821-1000.

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