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GenderTalk: News Release
Page not found | GenderTalk
Page not found | GenderTalk


January 19, 2006

Police Reopen Rita Hester Murder Case
Detective Calls for Information

Media contact:
Nancy Nangeroni, founder, GenderTalk Radio

The case of murdered transsexual Rita Hester, which inspired the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, has been reopened.

In a phone call to transgender activist and GenderTalk Radio host Nancy Nangeroni, Detective Wayne Rock of the Boston Police Department homicide division asked her to put out the word to the transgender community that the case is under active investigation.

Rock said that the Hester murder case had been reopened because of a phone call made a year and a half ago by Rita's mother to the Boston Police Department, asking for them to take another look at her child's murder. "We have a lot of cold cases, but the ones we reopen are often chosen because we've received a phone call from someone asking us to take another look." Rock identified himself as a member of a team that investigates previously unsolved, or 'cold', murder cases.

Detective Rock is asking for anyone who knows anything that might be helpful to make a phone call. "No matter how small or insignificant that information may be, it's a lead, and we follow up on every lead. You never know what might break the case, and it's better to go down a lot of dead ends than to miss something that could solve the case."

Detective Rock also spoke briefly of the local murder of another transsexual woman last fall, Lisa Daniels. "I can't give specifics, but that case is being vigorously investigated." He also mentioned that now-retired Sergeant Spellman, who had performed the original investigation of the Hester murder without success, had worked "long and hard" on the case. Rock candidly admits that he is not particularly knowledgable about the transgender community, but that he is interested in working with its members to solve this case.

Rita Hester's November 1998 murder led to an outpouring of community sympathy in a candlelight vigil through the streets of Allston. In the weeks that followed, national attention was drawn to the case by a war of words between local media and community activists who described media coverage as disrespectful to the victim. One year later, a memorial vigil was held in San Francisco, with Boston and others joining the following year, and more joining every year since. In 2005, over 300 locations worldwide observed the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Those with any information that might help solve Rita's murder are encouraged to call 1-800-494-TIPS, or to call the Boston Police Homicide division at 617-343-4470 and ask for Detective Rock.

GenderTalk Radio is the leading talk radio program about all aspects of gender, including transgender, LGBT issues, and much more. For over ten years, it has broadcast weekly to the Greater Boston area on WMBR at 88.1FM. It currently airs on Saturday nights from 8-10pm, and can also be heard online anytime at

GenderTalk is a program of Gender Education & Media, Inc., a Massachusetts non-profit operated by Gordene O. MacKenzie and Nancy Nangeroni. MacKenzie is the director of Women's Studies at Merrimack College; Nangeroni is former executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education.