Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pride Month: Unsolved LGBTQ Cases Vol. III

This Pride Month, it is important to remember the missing and murdered members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Several cases involving LGBTQIA+ individuals featured on True Case Files remain unsolved today. 

Each week during Pride Month, a set of 3 unsolved cases involving a missing or murdered member of the LGBTQIA+ community will be featured on this page. Let's continue to spread awareness on these cases in hopes that justice will be served.

The Disappearance of Katelin Akens.

Katelin Akens has been missing since December 5th, 2015. Prior to vanishing, the then-19-year-old lived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona with her fiancĂ©, Amber Rios. However, Katelin was visiting family in Spotsylvania County, Virginia at the time of her disappearance. 

Katelin is originally from Virginia, and she took a trip to her hometown in December 2015 to meet her new baby nephew. She stayed with her mother, Lisa, at Lisa's residence during her visit. Katelin was scheduled to take a flight back to Arizona on December 5th, 2015 - the same day she vanished. 

Lisa was unable to take Katelin to the airport that day, so she arranged for her ex-husband/Katelin's ex-stepfather, James Branton, to drive her there instead. Lisa dropped Katelin off at Branton's residence early that morning.

A few hours later, Lisa received a text from her ex-husband stating that he had dropped Katelin off. She also received a text from Katelin’s phone stating that she had arrived at Reagan International Airport. However, Katelin never boarded her flight. Two days later, her luggage was found abandoned in a drainage ditch located over 50 miles away from the airport. 

When police questioned Branton, he said that he that he did not actually drop Katelin off at Reagan International Airport. Instead, he claimed that Katelin requested to be dropped off at Springfield Mall, from where she would walk to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and take the Metro the rest of the way to the airport. However, is no evidence to support that Katelin was ever at that mall or Metro stop on that day.

There is inevitable speculation that Branton is involved in Katelin's disappearance, but at this time, he has not been charged with anything related to her case. Katelin remains missing today. Her case is considered cold.

If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Katelin Akens, please submit a tip.

Read more about Katelin's case.

The Disappearance of Eztli Cortez-Trujillo.

Eztli Cortez-Trujillo was last seen in North Odgen, Utah on April 23rd, 2020. The then-22-year-old vanished after getting into a minor car accident on North Odgen Divide Road. A passing GrubHub driver spotted Eztli and asked if they wanted a ride. Eztli accepted, and the GrubHub driver agreed to pick Eztli up after completing a nearby delivery. 

When the driver returned a short time later, Eztli was gone. Their car remained abandoned on the side of the road. The GrubHub driver called police to report the abandoned vehicle. Once police determined that the vehicle belonged to Eztli, officers attempted to contact Eztli and notified Eztli's family. This was an immediate red flag to Eztli's inner circle, as it is completely out of character for them to abandon their vehicle. 

Both officers and Eztli's family and friends attempted to contact them to no avail. Eztli was subsequently reported missing on April 25th, 2020. Loved ones have expressed frustration with the Salt Lake City Police Department for not putting more investigative efforts into Eztli's case. Friends and family have never believed that Eztli vanished on their own accord. However, police maintain that there is no evidence of foul play in Eztli's disappearance.

If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Eztli Cortez-Trujillo, please submit a tip.

Read more about Eztli's case.

The Murder of Jenna Franks.

Jenna Franks was found brutally murdered in Jacksonville, North Carolina on February 24th, 2021. The 34-year-old's body was discovered by street division workers in a wooded area near Ellis Boulevard and White Street. Investigators later determined that she had been stabbed to death.

Jenna's death is a devastating loss for both her loved ones and members of the local LGBTQ+ community. Jenna was a transgender woman and had active involvement with the Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center. Due to her gender identity, Jenna's murder is being investigated as a possible hate crime. 

The FBI became involved in Jenna's murder case just weeks into the investigation. Detectives from the FBI believe that Jenna willingly met up with her killer(s), unaware that her life was in danger. Other than this information, authorities have overall kept quiet about the status of investigation. 

Both investigators and Jenna's loved ones have made an ongoing appeal to the public in hopes that anyone with information will come forward. A monetary reward is available in exchange for information that will lead the arrest and conviction of Jenna's killer(s).

If you have any information that could help solve the murder of Jenna Franks, please submit a tip.

Read more about Jenna's case.


The next set of unsolved LGBTQ cases will be posted next week. 

Cases from week two.

Cases from week one.

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