Trans teenager found dead after going on a date in North Carolina

Joshua Newton and Victoria Smith

A trans teenager has been found dead after disappearing while on a date in North Carolina, police say. 

An 18-year-old trans man who family say was known as Jacob was last seen on the evening of 30 June after going on a date, with local police claiming his body was found on Tuesday (4 July), Newsweek reported.

The Union County police in North Carolina told the outlet that two suspects, 25-year-old Joshua Newton and 22-year-old Victoria Smith, have been taken into custody in connection with Jacob Williamson’s death. 

Newton has reportedly been charged with first degree murder and obstruction of justice, while Smith has reportedly been charged with obstruction of justice and accessory. 

The case is reportedly being considered as a homicide, however it is not yet known if Williamson was killed because of his identity, or if the incident was a hate crime.

According to police, a family member explained that Williamson had agreed to meet Newton on Facebook, and that he had remained in contact after leaving home, but stopped responding at about 11.40pm on 30 June.

You may like to watch

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim in this case as they begin to mourn this unimaginable loss,” Eddie Cathey, Union County sheriff, said in a statement on Wednesday (5 July).

Williamson’s death is unfortunately one of several deaths within the trans community in 2023.

In a memorial post for Chanell Perez Ortiz, a trans woman who was killed on 25 June, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) claimed she was “at least the 13th” transgender or gender non-conforming person to be killed in the US in 2023.

“We say ‘at least’ because too often these deaths go unreported – or misreported,” the LGBTQ+ lobbying organisation added. 

In the UK, 16-year-old trans student Brianna Ghey was killed in February, with emotional vigils paying tribute to the teenager taking place all over the country.

Two 15-year-olds, a boy and a girl who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been charged with murder and are due to stand trial at Liverpool Crown Court on 10 July.

PinkNews has contacted the Union County Sheriff’s Office for comment.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.