MIAMI – The local LGBTQ community is mourning a beloved transgender woman after officers found her dead inside her 19th-floor condo in Miami. Detectives identified her killer as a 27-year-old man who confessed to being under the influence of meth when he used a fork and a knife to stab her in a fit of jealous rage.
Ygor Arrudasouza was in tears when he appeared in Miami-Dade County court on Wednesday. He is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Yunieski Carey Herrera, a Cuban salsa dancer, and performer who had competed in beauty pageants for years.
“I started back in 2004 when I was asked to model for a local fashion show ... in Los Angeles and I just got addicted,” she told a blogger in 2015, adding it had become her “passion in life.”
Herrera was also known as the model “Yuni Carey” and as a local activist. Herrera’s friend Raul Griffith said she was a graceful star who was loved and admired in the LGBTQ community. Griffith said he loved Herrera like a sister.
“Besides being strikingly beautiful, she was kind and she was good and she cared as much about others as she would about herself," Griffith said, adding "She was a very special person for many people.”
Arianna Innuritegui-Lint, the chief executive officer of Arianna’s Center, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower the trans community of South Florida, said Herrera was “amazing” and “sweet.” She remembers her as someone who had made her dreams come true and who wanted to help others do the same.
On Wednesday, Innuritegui-Lint still couldn’t believe that Herrera had become the 36th transgender woman to be murdered this year in the United States or that it would happen during Transgender Awareness Week.
“She had a perfect life,” Innuritegui-Lint said. “She was in love.”
According to the arrest report, Arrudasouza is a Brazilian dancer who loved Herrera so much he had a “Yuni” tattoo on his left hip. Herrera had shared a public video on Oct. 15 showing him getting the tattoo.
“He got my name! My husband loves me,” Herrera wrote.
Arrudasouza called 911 at about 4:25 a.m. on Tuesday. He told police officers meth had ruined his life and he had stabbed his wife inside their apartment at the Art Plaza Tower, at 58 NE 14th St., Apt. 1902, near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Miami Fire Rescue personnel pronounced Herrera dead at 4:38 a.m. She was 39.
During questioning, Arrudasouza told a detective that he was arguing with Herrera when she told him that "she had a better man” than him, according to the arrest report. He said he went to the kitchen to grab the knife and the fork, pushed her from the bed, and stabbed her when she was on the floor, police said.
Arrudasouza “stabbed her multiple times until he realized what he had done,” an officer wrote in the police report, adding that during his confession he also said he “deserves the punishment that comes to him.”
Arrudasouza had a recent history of violence. Miami-Dade County court records show he was arrested in January on three battery charges. The case remains open and he has a trial hearing on March 8.
Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation records show Arrudasouza has an immigration hold and he was out on a felony bond when the murder happened. Records show he is being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
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