(NEW YORK) — Joao “Julia” da Silva, a 23-year-old trans woman, was found in Texas on Tuesday after she was last seen by family members leaving her residence in North Bay Village, Florida, on March 24.
North Bay Village police are working with local authorities and family members to coordinate her return. The investigation into her disappearance remains ongoing.
Authorities said da Silva frequents the Miami, Miami Beach and Wilton Manors LGBTQ communities. She was seen in video surveillance at a gas station on Monday night in the South Miami area near Homestead.
“With this video footage, what concerns us is that she did appear disoriented,” said Paul Battaglia, the LGBT liaison officer at the North Bay Village Police Department. “She also did appear alone, which is unusual for her.”
Transgender people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violence, according to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
Battaglia said the department is taking the heightened risks against this population into account.
“We understand the statistics. They’re are at a higher probability for violence, self-harm,” he said. “So we did ask those pertinent questions at the initial intake. She does not suffer from any previous mental health history, no depression, no self-harm, because that’s very important to us.”
“That’s all we want, to make sure she is OK,” da Silva’s best friend, Tatiana, told ABC-affiliate WPLG-TV when da Silva was missing. Da Silva’s mother had reportedly flown in from Japan to help with the search.
If anyone has information on da Silva’s whereabouts, the North Bay Village Police Department urges them to reach out to the agency at (305)758-2626.
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