Sasha Garden, 27, was found dead behind the Reserve at Lake Buchanan apartment complex on Holden Avenue. According to the Orange County Sheriff’s office, a passerby saw Garden's body in a rear parking lot around 5:00 AM and called 911. According to the report, she was found naked and her body had suffered trauma.
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Garden had been living in Orlando on and off over the last two years. "She was traveling a lot, trying to find a new home and find herself," her friend Mulan Montrese Williams told Orlando Weekly. Montrese Williams is an advocate for transgender women and the outreach coordinator for the HIV/AIDS organization Miracle of Love.
According to Montrese Williams, Garden was a sex worker who was good at doing hair and had dreamt of becoming a hair stylist. Her current goal was to save enough money to complete her transition. Montrese Williams says she believes it is likely that Garden was working when she was murdered.
Montrese Williams also says that many in the transgender community are worried after Garden’s death and the recent murders of three transgender woman in Jacksonville this year.
Garden was repeatedly misgendered and deadnamed in local news reports by WFTV and WESH, who blamed the Orange Count Sheriff’s office for the misinformation.
Local LGBTQ support group QLatinx issued a statement in response to the reporting:
The news of the passing of our beloved sister from the community, Sasha, is one of absolute heartbreak and tragedy. We hold her spirit and those of her loved ones in our hearts. We are equally heart broken by the flagrant disrespect and desecration of her memory by the media and law enforcement that has chosen to dishonor and misgender her in their reporting. We are calling for our media partners and local law enforcement to be more reflective of their practices, issue an apology for their coverage, and commit to improving their efforts for authentically reporting the stories of our beloved transgender and gender non-conforming communities.
Garden becomes the 15th transgender person to be murdered in 2018.
Rest in power Sasha Garden!