Iratxe Otero, a 29-year-old trans woman, found stabbed to death near shopping mall on Boxing Day

Iratxe Otero in the seat of a vehicle poses while looking at the camera

Iratxe Otero, a 29-year-old trans woman, was found dead by Spanish authorities in a case that has quickly rippled fear and anger in the local LGBT+ community.

The body of Otero, from Arona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, was found at around 6am on 26 December, said officers from Spain’s law enforcement agency, the Civil Guard – though police believe she was slain sometime between 21 and 22 December.

The discovery was made by Chaparral Shopping Center cleaners in Costa del Silencio, a small resort town on the southern tip of Tenerife, according to Diario de Avisos.

A man was arrested Sunday (27 December) in connection to her death after police combed local surveillance footage and conducted interviews with local residents, shopping mall staffers and people who knew Otero. The suspect was described as in his early 40s.

While details of her death remain scarce, investigators have floated the idea that she was killed in a private karaoke bar within the shopping complex.

She had suffered several stab wounds around her abdomen, forensic experts from the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Institute of Legal Medicine noted.

A map with a pink marker showing the location of Chaparral Shopping Center with a textbox reading: "Chaparral Shopping Center cleaners found the body of Iratxe Otero, police said."


Campaigners ‘demand justice’ for Iratxe Otero.

Otero’s death was viewed by LGBT+ community leaders and groups as another example of “continuous structural and institutional violence”, several wrote in a letter published in the El Deriódico de Canarias newspaper. The groups denounced local media for the “disrespectful” coverage that “violated” the victim’s identity.

“We demand prevention, justice and reparation!” wrote the signatories, including some of the country’s top trans rights groups on both local and national levels.

“The fight against patriarchal violence, trans-hatred and LGBT-phobia is a responsibility that challenges all of society.

“And it is the obligation of public institutions to establish policies and strategies aimed at addressing the causes that originate, reproduce and perpetuate this violence in all its manifestations, as well as articulate effective mechanisms that guarantee the right to a life of dignity and free of violence.”

TransGirls Canarias, a trans advocacy group, have sought to raise funds for Otero’s family who, according to a GoFundMe, are based in the northern city of Bilbao, Biscay. They hope to use the money raised to “give [Otero] a dignified, last goodbye.”