‘Abducted’ 21-year-old trans man Alex Franco found shot dead in Utah desert

The body of a 21-year-old transgender man, Alex Franco, has been found in a “remote desert area in Utah County,” close to the city of Lehi.

It’s believed that Franco died from a single gunshot, however police say they are waiting on a coroner’s report.

Taylorsville Police, who are investigating, said that two teenagers aged 15 and 17 have been arrested and charged with “multiple felony charges” in relation to what they are treating as a possible homicide.

Alex Franco had previously been reported as missing, possibly abducted, on Monday (18 March), after bring seen getting into a 2000s Jeep Liberty. Just after Franco got into the vehicle, witnesses heard a gunshot and the jeep sped away. Franco’s body was found on Tuesday 19 March.

Police said video footage from the scene “clearly identified the sound reported by witnesses as a gunshot.” The alleged abduction is currently part of the investigation.

Alex Franco’s body was discovered in a remote desert some 50 miles from the area where he was last seen stepping into a Jeep on Sunday afternoon, according to the Taylorsville Police Department, who had previously appealed for witnesses. (Facebook)

Police say that they are continuing to search for a third occupant of the vehicle. They also believe that Franco knew at least one of the people in the car and got into the vehicle willingly.

Franco’s girlfriend, Alyssa Henry, told KUTV that “friends of friends” had picked Franco up on Sunday afternoon, seemingly with a plan to drive to a park.

“The investigation so far has not revealed that this was a hate crime,” Lt. Aaron Cheshire of Taylorsville Police reportedly told the press at a conference on Tuesday (19 March).

Alex Franco (everloved.com)

“It was confirmed by the State Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday that the body found was the person who was reported as abducted,” Taylorsville PD also confirmed in the press release.

Alex Franco’s loved ones have created a crowdfunding campaign to accept donations for Alex’s funeral expenses, writing: “Alex’s death was unexpected, and we don’t have the funds we need to pay for his funeral… We love you so much Alex, we miss you. Fly high with the angels. Rest in paradise until we meet again.”

Police are urging anyone with information about the incident to call the non-emergency dispatch number for Taylorsville PD at 801-840-4000.

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