Man arrested after non-binary 17-year-old River Nevaeh Goddard found dead

A photo of River Nevaeh Goddard.

A non-binary teenager has been found dead, after being reported missing when they were 15.

The body of River Nevaeh Goddard, 17, was reportedly found by police in Stow, Massachusetts, on 3 April while responding to a welfare check request at her the home of her boyfriend, Shane Curry.

Curry reportedly blocked the entrance to his home for more than two hours before authorities were able to gain access, and found Goddard’s body.

Curry, 20, was arrested and charged with assault and battery on a household or family member and assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. A not guilty plea was entered when he appeared at Concord District Court on Monday (22 April).

According to court paperwork, Curry was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2020.

Goddard, who used both their chosen name, River, and birth name Nevaeh, went missing in April 2022.

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According to GLAAD, Goddard used she/her and they/them pronouns and identified as pansexual.

Michael Simmons, Goddard’s grandfather, told local news organisation WJAR: “Never in a million years did I think this [would happen]. I spoke to the boyfriend. He promised to take care of her.”

Simmons said that Goddard had a difficult upbringing, having been born in prison and spent time in foster care, then running away from her guardians in Rhode Island.

“There couldn’t have been a nicer, more soulful and more spiritual person,” he added.

GLAAD president and chief executive, Sarah Kate Ellis, said she was “heartbroken” by the news.

“Too often, young people, and LGBTQ+ youth in particular, are failed by the adults and systems entrusted to protect them, and do not feel they have anywhere to turn in times of crisis,” she continued.

“Our leaders and communities must do better. Politicians must stop dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation that fans the flames of hate and violence.”

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents marked Goddard as the 12th trans person to die as “victims of the campaign of terror” in 2024.