A Texan drag performer was murdered this week, and friends believe he may be the victim of a hate crime.
Torrance Cheeves, known in the local gay scene by his stage name Miss Whoochie, was found dead Wednesday in his San Antonio residence.
Coworkers, suspecting foul play, alerted police to his absence from his job that day, reports the San Antonio Express-News. Cheeves had last been seen Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Authorities discovered Cheeves's body face-down in his home. The back door was open, and personal items were in disarray and strewn outside. The 51-year-old man died from a stab wound to the neck, according to a ruling released Thursday by the county medical examiner.
Cheeves was a regular performer at The Bonham Exchange, a gay bar where he would host events like a "Chili Queen cookoff," which raised funds for a local AIDS charity.
Friends and coworkers remember Cheeves, who stood at 6'8", as a "gentle giant," and are shocked by his violent death.
"We were all in tears. We can't believe that someone who was so kind to everyone would meet such a horrible ending," Joan Duckworth, the office manager at The Bonham Exchange, told local news station KSAT-TV. "Torrance was the sweetest man you have ever met in your life. He was such a great guy. It doesn't make sense."
Police are investigating the crime as a murder. However, Duckworth says there are fears that his killing may have been motivated by hate.
"I pray that's not the truth but I think maybe it could be," Duckworth said. "Because what's going on in the world these days, people are not as loving and accepting of each other as they should be."