FBI, Imperial County Sheriff, & DHS join the investigation
BRAWLEY – As the search expanded this week for the person or persons who murdered Marilyn Cazares, a 22-year-old Trans-Latinx woman in this small Imperial Valley city about 45 minutes north of the U.S.- Mexico border earlier this month, family, friends, and the small LGBTQI+ community are gathering for a vigil and march in her honor.
The “I Am Marilyn” march and vigil will be held on Saturday, August 1. Organizers told the Los Angeles Blade that the peaceful march will start at the Brawley California DMV, 1175 Main Street, located adjacent to the abandoned building crime scene where Cazares was found and will end at Plaza Park where the vigil will be held, Rosa Diaz, the CEO of the Imperial Valley LGBTQ Center said Wednesday. The events start at 6:30 pm. and are scheduled to end at 9 pm.
Diaz said that the vigil will honor Cazares’ life, and transgender lives everywhere, by showcasing transgender voices and bringing awareness to the ongoing violence against transwomen, particularly transwomen of color, in this community and beyond. Cazares was the 22nd transgender person killed this year in the United States.
“Marilyn dreamed of leaving Brawley to find a place to live her truth unapologetically, away from a lack of acceptance and representation,” said Diaz “It is this same energy that we wish to bring to the Imperial Valley community with a vigil that rallies much-needed affirmation for her transgender siblings.”
The memorial and vigil are organized by the Cazares family, the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center, PFLAG San Diego County, San Diego Pride, Equality Business Alliance, Gender Phluid Collective, Rainbow of Truth, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, and Trans Family Support Services Diaz said. She added that the entire event had been sanctioned and permits had been issued by the City Manager of Brawley, Rosanna Bayon-Moore.
Among the speakers for the vigil are Jelecia King (Trans activist), Tiffany Gonzalez (PFLAG-San Diego County President), and Jamie Arangure (Trans activist). Several public officials have also signed on in support and will be represented at the vigil, including the Office of CA Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, the Office of CA Congressman Juan Vargas, and the Office of CA Senator Ben Hueso.
A spokesperson for the Brawley Police Department, Commander Brett Houser, said that the investigation into Cazares’ homicide had been joined by agents from the San Diego Field Office of the FBI’s Imperial Valley Residency Office, the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s investigations unit.
Cazares was found near an abandoned single-family residence next to the DMV on Main Street around 8:30 a.m July 13, when BPD patrol officers and Brawley Fire Department personnel responded to a report of a couch fire near the building.
“This is just the early part of the investigative process so we’re just investigating as a homicide right now,” Houser said. “We haven’t established a motive or anything of that nature yet.”
Houser did not specify a cause of death citing the ongoing active criminal investigation but he asked that any member of the public with information please contact Brawley Police Detective Sergeant Jesse Rotner at 760-351-7777
Diaz told the Blade that “All are welcome to attend, stand in solidarity and encourage those that wish to lend their support to the family and the trans community.” Masks and social distancing are requested.
Folks who are unable to attend are requested to join the live streaming of the event, which will be shared on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #WeAreMarilyn, to honor Marilyn and all those who have lost their lives to transphobia and violence.
Donations are being accepted (Linked here) with proceeds benefiting the event and directly supporting the local LGBTQ+ community through the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center. “Join us as we fight for our transgender siblings and their right to exist as their true selves,” Diaz said.