Two Spirit Murders

The following is a wealth of information about Two Spirit TRIBAL EQUITY TOOLKIT: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit & LGBT Justice in Indian Country.


Two Spirit Murders

Amy Soos (Pima / Maricopa)

Arizona police report states Amy was murdered in Phoenix, Arizona, February 16, 2002. Amy Soos lived  on the Salt River Pima Indian Reservation in Arizona, but one night she did not return home, and her body was discovered in a roadway. She died of multiple blunt force trauma.

Website source:

Publication with more info:

Alejandro Ray Lucero, 25 (Hopi)

Murdered in Phoenix, Arizona, March 3, 2002. Source: Phoenix, Arizona police report. Alejandro Lucero was found near 18th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix. According to police reports, it was death by strangulation and blunt force trauma to the neck.

Website source:

Publication with more info:

Ryan Shey Hoskie, 23, (Navajo)

Website source: Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer, T.J. Wilham’s article, “Police Theorize Prostitute Killed for Being a Man”. The article was written January 7, 2005.

Website source: Albuquerque Journal, Staff Writer T.J. Wilham’s article, “Another Cross-Dresser Found Dead”. July 07, 2009


Frederick Watson, 32, (Navajo)

Murdered June 9, born July 23, 1976, into the Black Streak People Clan for the Meadow People Clan in Gallup, NM.

Website source: Albuquerque Journal, Staff Writer T.J. Wilham writes, “Another Cross-Dresser Found Dead”. July 07, 2009

Terri Benally, 42, (Navajo)

Terri was found beaten to death in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Website source: Three Navajo cross-dressers killed in four years Albuquerque Journal, Staff Writer T.J. Wilham

Fred “F.C.” Martinez, Jr. 16, (Navajo)

Murdered in Cortez, Colorado, Fred Martinez, Jr., a 16-year-old, Native American high school student – who described himself as openly gay and “two-spirit” – was found beaten to death on June 21st. The badly decomposed body of 16-year-old Fred Martinez Jr. was found near the sewer ponds south of Cortez by two young boys who were playing in the area.

Source: Denver Post, July 6, 2001

Websites with more info:
Fred Martinez Project:

Pauline Mitchell’s statement from Shawn Murphy’s sentencing hearing on June 3, 2002. 

He pled guilty to the murder of her son Fred Martinez, Jr. in Cortez, Colorado.

I am Pauline Mitchell. My son Fred C. Martinez, Jr., F.C. as he was known by family and friends, left this world much too soon because of those who fear and hate anyone who is different. I have come to discover that many, many people do care about Fred, Jr. It’s hard especially when you have to talk about your baby this way. He was killed because he was different. To some people Fred said he was “transgender”, to others “gay”, to some “Nadleeh,” a Native American word for people who live in the worlds of both female and male. To me, these labels mean nothing — and they meant nothing to F.C. He used these terms to make other people comfortable, not himself. You should also know that those “other people” did not include his family. We loved FC exactly as he was – and it is so sad that fear and hate of difference put young people like Fred and many others in the path of danger and violence.

I am a single parent. I have two granddaughters, two grandsons, and six boys, 26 on down. My oldest is 26, and Fred was the youngest. My son was only 16 years. Just a month ago he would have celebrated his seventeenth birthday. He could have had a lot of good years ahead of him. I have been sick for nearly a year from the loss of my son. I have missed a lot of work to go down to the hospital in Shiprock over and over again. Sometimes I can tell people haven’t wanted to hire me because they know who I am and about Fred.

I love my son so much and I miss him very, very much. He was an outspoken boy, laughing and joking all the time. It is so quiet in my house now. F.C. was always ready to bring a laugh or smile to my heart when I needed it the most. He never saw another person as a stranger but as a fellow human being and was always ready to give a hug or compliment to anyone whom he believed to be hurting. F.C. loved life and to make others happy. He was my “tail” as I would call him. He was always ready to go with me on any errands or trips I had to make. He cherished his friends and he had many. He would love to do make-up with his girlfriends, to share ideas. He was a free spirit and I loved him for his spirit and all of who he was. Fred was a happy kid.

Almost four years ago, when he was 13 and in Middle School he started changing, wearing make-up. First eyebrow pencil. Later on curling his hair, putting more make-up on, and putting on nail polish. And Fred always carried a purse. Other than that, he dressed as a typical junior high school kid-like most of the kids he was friends with, like Marlene and Robin, dressed. He liked it. He was out with mostly girls. And he loved to fiddle around with his girlfriends’ hair. Some of what the newspapers said about F.C. was not true, saying that he was wearing dresses, using girl’s room–which he never did. One day we sat down in the front room, and he said, “This is the way I want to be.” His brothers didn’t say anything to him. We really didn’t say nothing to him. F.C. was beautiful and liked to make himself more beautiful. We treated him like he is precious to us. The youngest. If that is how you want to be, if you are happy with it, okay. F.C. had many difficult times in his short life. Much of this was related to the fact that he was Navajo living in a world that does not honor and respect different ways, and also that he was Nadleeh–Two-Spirit-and he could comfortably walk the path of both male and female, that he would love differently from most. F.C. also felt the pain of what comes when your family is poor, but very proud. It is not easy to grow up as Navajo, Nadleeh and poor. But these are facts of life. He was not ashamed of who he was and neither was I. I now tell you that I dearly loved my precious son and was proud of all that he was.

F.C. was picked on at school because of the way he dressed. I understood kids picked on him. But he never told me, his girlfriends told me. F.C. worked hard to overcome these hardships and he was beginning to find the path he would walk down for what should have been a long and fulfilling life, and to do so proudly. He was interested in art and design. He liked to do hair and make up. He had ambitions. There were many things he wanted to do, and many places he wanted to go. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D. C. were the three cities Fred had always wanted to visit. I’ve gone to each of them this past year for the first time, but Fred could only go with me in spirit. Why can’t others allow our loved ones to live their lives and to express themselves freely?

The last time I saw F.C. alive was the night of the Ute Mountain Rodeo in Cortez. He was going with some friends to the carnival just a mile from my house. The next time I saw him was to identify his body, at the funeral home. He’d been chased, beaten with a rock. He had been left to bleed, with a fractured skull, alone in the dark in a little canyon only a quarter mile from our home. He wasn’t found until a week later. I was worried sick when he never returned, but I never thought it could be this bad. I don’t know how long he lay there suffering. I don’t know what his last thoughts were. I don’t know all of the people who were involved. I know they chased him and beat him. And I know they left him lying there and tried to hide it. And that later Shawn Murphy bragged about it. He wasn’t found until a week later, unrecognizable as the beautiful boy I’d last seen a week before. I had to identify that body by the hair band F.C.’d been wearing. This happened to my son and no way am I going to let that go. Some of my questions may never be answered. I just want to know the truth about what happened to my son. And I want justice to be done to all of the people responsible for his murder.

Mr. Murphy, you took my son away from me in the most vicious way I can imagine. You smashed his head with a rock. You were covered with his blood. When you left him that night a year ago in the Pits, not even a mile away from here, you knew you beat him with a rock and you felt it break his skull. You knew how much he was bleeding because you were covered with his blood. You deliberately left him there to die- – or already dead. And my son lay there for a week and all you said about it was that you had “bug-smashed a fag.”

I think you should be put to death for that. But I know that will not happen. It doesn’t even seem to me like you care about what you’ve done. It looks like you have only cared about yourself since you were arrested. You say you want to be a father to your child, but what kind of father can take a mother’s youngest child away from her with no apology whatsoever? It looks to me like you are a dangerous, violent person. The idea that I might see you on the street before too long, free to live your life, is an insult to me and to the memory of my son, Fred. I believe that you should be in jail for as much of your life as the law will allow. Because of you Fred can never become the person he might have been and the world is less for that. Whatever life is left to you, in jail or not, and whatever freedom you might have after is more than you deserve. You stole my son’s life. You broke my family. And you broke my heart.

Thank you, Your Honor.