On Tuesday, June 9th, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office responded to a dead body that was discovered in Liberty Township. During an investigation, it was confirmed that a 14-year-old girl and two men tempted her to meat them to the area where they shot and killed her during a robbery attempt.
At a press conference held about the killing, Sheriff Richard Jones was asked whether the women, identified as Riah Milton, was targeted because of being a transgender woman. He said that it was not, he stated that the killers intended to rob her and take are car.
Riah Milton was not initially identified by the name that is now known as, she was identified as her birth name, which her family considers her dead name. This was something that greatly upset the victim’s family, as they said that the now goes by the name Riah and that it was a matter of disrespect for the authorities to identify her by any other name. Her sister said that she was ‘out’ as a transgender woman and wasn’t hiding anything. Therefore, she couldn’t figure out why they would refer to her in this manner.
Riah Milton’s sister, Mary Ann Milton also identifies as transgender and was upset when she heard the officer and media refer to her sister with her birth name or dead name. She felt that they had improperly identified her sister’s gender and she found this to be very upsetting.
A local Sargent, Kim Peters of the Butler County Sheriff’s office indicated that the woman who was murdered was referred to by her parents as their son. This would give clear evidence as to why the media and officials also referred to her with her birth name and identified her as male. The coroner’s office has also listed the victim as male, as this was her gender.
Milton’s birth mother, who was not a part of her daughter’s lives until they were 18, said that she acknowledged that her children were transgender. The mother wanted others to know who her daughter was.
Riah was described as someone who loved being outdoors and enjoyed traveling. She said she was outgoing, helpful, and was the type of person who always put family first. Her mother said that her daughter just wanted others to accept her for who she was.
Eden Estes, a close friend of the victim’s sister has been working to get the victims named changed on various media outlets, as they see it as total disrespect to represent her by her dead name and not the name that she chose later in life.
Many in the Cincinnati area still believe that the crime was a hate crime due to her being transgender. The victim’s sister, Mary Ann Milton, plans on reporting her sister’s killing as a hate crime. However, for now, she is still dealing with the trauma of losing her sister. She admits to being in a state of shock.