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Transwoman murdered, accused killer bailed same day

Mhelody Polan Bruno

Mhelody Polan Bruno, 25, was found unresponsive by paramedics at 8 am on Saturday 21, September 2019 at a home unit on Tarcutta Street, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales(NSW) Australia.

Mhelody Polan Bruno was then transported to the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital where she died September 22, 2019.

The events surrounding her murder remain murky, even suspicious. Her family and friends told the media that she was on a two-month vacation with her boyfriend, Andy, at his home in Wagga Wagga, NSW. This is where she met the man with whom she fell in love and eventually killed her.

Evidently, Andy’s love was unrequited, but police have not indicated that he had a part in her murder.

The NSW police reported that Detectives from Riverina Police District are investigating the circumstances surrounding her death under Strike Force Lamson.

“Following inquiries, a 31-year-old man was arrested at Wagga Wagga Police Station on Sunday afternoon (22 September 2019).
“He was charged with manslaughter and granted strict conditional bail to appear at Wagga Wagga Local Court on Wednesday 6 November 2019.”

Dholley Garcia, Mhelody’s best friend wants the world to know that her friend’s life mattered.

“We miss you. Why did this happen to you? You shouldn’t have kept that man a secret from us. All you’ve built up is of no use now. You were so young,” she asks.

The two Vigils Monday night come as new information comes to light.

The NSW Coroner’s forensic staff reportedly confirmed that she died of strangulation.

According to the English language Philippines news website Rappler, Mhelody’s friends also fear that she was raped.

Her family have been calling on the Philippines Government to assist them in repatriating her body.

“Our call is for the government to help bring our sister home,” her brother Leonel told Rappler.

“I hope they can help us [but] there is no one handling our case.”

The Sydney branch of Filipino pro-democracy movement Anakbayan has joined other groups in calling for justice for Mhelody.

“Filipina women represent a disproportionately high percentage of sexual & domestic abuse victims in Australia,” the group said in an online statement.

“Mhelody was also particularly vulnerable to the often fatal violence that disproportionately affects transgender [women of colour] around the world.”

“We join … others in demanding justice for Mhelody. This means a full, fair and transparent investigation into her murder, as well as her timely return to her family back home in the Philippines as per their requests.”

Memorial vigils are being held from 7pm on Monday, October 7, in Wagga Wagga and in Sydney to celebrate the life of murdered Filipina trans woman Mhelody Polan Bruno.

The Sydney event is taking place in the square outside Newtown’s The Hub building, while the Wagga event will take place in Victory Memorial Gardens.

As Wagga Wagga is under a fire ban, attendees are asked to bring electronic candles.

GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help assist Mhelody’s family with her funeral expenses.

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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