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[G C, G C, G C D]
I know your eyes
October came too
As the sky grows
Extra Special Thanks to 'V' for the incredible vocal support.
More of Rob
This one goes out
to Eddie 'Gwen' Araujo:
NEWARK, Calif. -- Three young men have been charged with murder in the beating and strangling death of a cross-dressing 17-year-old boy whose body was found in a shallow grave two weeks after he disappeared.
Eddie Araujo showed up at a house party as a girl named "Lida," and was assaulted and killed after it was discovered he was a boy.
The killers allegedly beat him, gashing his head, and then dragged his semiconscious body to the garage, where they tightened a rope around his neck. Then they drove his body to a remote spot in the Sierra foothills and buried him in a shallow grave, according to a police affidavit.
"They're going to pay for what they did," said Araujo's aunt, Imelda Guerrero. "I hope everybody out there who sees this learns something from this because he was a beautiful person inside and out."
Michael William Magidson, 27, Jaron Chase Nabors, 19, and Jose Antonio Merel, 24, all of Newark, appeared in court on charges of murder with a hate-crime enhancement. They entered no pleas and were held without bail.
A fourth suspect arrested Wednesday, Jose's brother Paul Richard Merel Jr., 25, was released when the district attorney's office determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute him. Police have not ruled out other suspects.
According to the affidavit, it was Paul's girlfriend, Nicole Brown, who discovered Araujo's secret after taking him into a bathroom at the Merels' house to determine his gender.
After she announced he was a boy, Jose Merel punched Araujo to the floor and Nabors and Magidson joined in, police said. Paul Merel said he was sleeping when his girlfriend woke him and insisted they flee, saying, "It's a man, let's go."
He told police he saw Araujo lying on the floor with his skirt pulled up as they left the house, but knew nothing more. Police said the other three drove the body to the mountains.
Araujo had been dressing like a girl "for some time," and had clashed with the suspects about a week before the Oct. 3 party, said Newark Police Lt. Tom Milner.
"We don't know if that's the prime factor in the altercation or if there were other factors involved such as revenge," Milner said. "These things are all definitely in play."
The boy was reported missing by his mother when he didn't come home from the party.
On Wednesday, two weeks later, police said Nabors confessed and led them to the body, buried about 150 miles east of his home in Newark, a San Francisco suburb.
"We're dealing with a number of people who could have helped, stepped in, prevented or reported this," said Lt. Lance Morrison. "None of them did."
It remained unclear whether the teen died in Newark or in the wilderness area where he was found, near the Silver Fork campground in El Dorado County. The site was so remote, it could only be reached by a four-wheel drive vehicle, Milner said.
Araujo identified himself as both a male and a female, sometimes also going by the name Gwen, said Milner. His aunt said singer Gwen Stefani of No Doubt was one of his favorites.
In a recent family photo, Araujo had carefully groomed eyebrows and makeup and his hair was highlighted and cut into a shoulder-length bob.
Araujo's friend, Daisy Bernal, said people didn't accept him as a female.
"People just didn't like him," she said. "She gets mad when I used to call her Eddie. She would be like, 'Shut Up. Don't call me that.' After I called her that, she just said, 'I'm a girl, I'm just a girl trapped in a guy's body. God made me like that.'"
Violence against transgender people -- a broad range of identities including cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals and those born with characteristics of both sexes -- is unfortunately common, said Rachael Janelle Light, president of Transgender San Francisco, an advocacy group.
"If it's not a hate crime, I don't know what other crime it could be. Why would you do that to a young person?" Light said. "We all lose a piece of ourselves when this happens."
This was the story as of October 18, 2002. See bottom of left sidebar for recent news about Eddie 'Gwen' Araujo.
Click here to view the "Bye Bye Lida" press release.