Nine years ago, transgender woman Lorena Escalera, known professionally as Lorena Xtravaganza, was found murdered in her Brooklyn, NY. apartment.
On the evening of May 12, 2012, Escalera returned to her apartment with two men. At about 4 a.m., a fire broke out in the building and all the residents, except for Lorena, were able to evacuate just in time. After the fire was extinguished at 4:37 a.m., firefighters discovered Escalera lying on her bed, strangled and suffocated to death. The NYPD ruled her death a homicide.
At the time the fire started, witnesses reported seeing two men arguing outside the building. While the fire has been deemed suspicious, investigators have found no evidence of accelerant in the apartment.
Lorena was a well known performer who did impressions of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. She held a membership from the celebrated House of Xtravaganza, a LGBTQ+ group of performers and artists. Aa a young kid doing makeup in Puerto Rico, she set out to New York to pursue her dreams, according to her cousin Jerry Rodriguez. “She was a beautiful person, and we feel like whoever did this did it out of spite…We just want closure.”
Escalera’s murder remains unsolved. Her friends and family continue to mourn and hold on for hope that they will will get the closure they need.