Transgender Woman and Housemate Murdered in New Mexico

Eugene Carroll Ray and Zakaria Fry

Two bodies found in New Mexico have been identified as that of a transgender woman and her housemate, both missing since January, and a man has been charged with the murder of both.

Zakaria Fry, 28, and Eugene Carroll Ray, 70, from whom she rented a room in Albuquerque, had been missing since January 18, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Their bodies were found February 19, stuffed into trash containers in the small town of Stanley, N.M. Both had died of blunt force trauma to the head and face, police said.

Albuquerque police Tuesday arrested Charles Anthony Spiess, 27, who is also known by the name James Knight, and he was charged Wednesday with the murder of both Fry and Ray, along with a charge of tampering with evidence, according to the Journal.

Police said Spiess may have been living in Ray’s house as well. “They were possibly all rooming together, and that's why we have a lot of evidence at that location,” Albuquerque Police Department public information officer Simon Drobik told the Journal. “There was a lot of DNA evidence taken, a lot of video evidence, lots of physical evidence that was tagged into evidence. So it's a massive case and there's a lot of connections there. But the main thing is we’re asking the public if they ever saw these three together.”

There was blood splatter in a guest bedroom at the home, plus bloody towels and hypodermic needles in the house and garage, police said. Also, Ray’s vehicle was found abandoned, with blood spatter inside, as well as duct tape and disinfectant spray.

Fry and Phylicia Mitchell of Cleveland, who was killed last week, are the fifth and sixth transgender homicide victims reported in the U.S. this year. There were 27 trans murders reported in 2017, matching 2016 as the deadliest year on record for trans Americans. In any given year, there are likely more murders of trans people, given that many are misgendered by police and media or their deaths not reported at all.

Friends of Fry’s remembered her fondly in Facebook postings. “Words cannot say how much of an amazing person” she was, wrote Brad Byers. “The fun times we had at the casino will forever be in my head. Rest In Peace, sweet girl.”

“You were such a fun and positive person despite all the challenges you faced in life,” wrote Tara Yvonne. “You were a brave, strong and inspirational woman. Your spirit lives on and you are missed by many. May you rest in peace.”

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