(Update: Coroner report confirms suicide) Facebook transgender suicide post: Hoax? Looks that way

Kate Von Roeder suicide hoaxLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — UPDATE:  October 8, 2014. The trans person who posted a suicide note on Facebook (the subject of this article) did in fact, commit suicide on October 1st, according to a coroner’s report. Allison Woolbert of the Facebook group Transgender Violence Tracking Project https://www.facebook.com/TransMSVTracker contacted that department and passed along her findings to me. I have no reason to doubt her.

The report shows that her residence was in Los Angeles, not West Hollywood as indicated by von Roeder’s Facebook settings. This is pretty much all the facts we have.

I do not know the location of the suicide — whether it was in Los Angeles or West Hollywood (or even somewhere else). My phone call to WeHo PD points toward the Los Angeles as most likely as does the coroner’s report. I don’t know which police jurisdiction the suicide took place in and who subsequently handled the case. There’s still no explanation for contrary posts from her friends on FB, or the sources for both the (now) correct and incorrect information news reports that covered this story. But at this point, all this is pretty much moot since we have a more pressing concern: the reality of trans suicide.

The major trigger for trans suicide is not the fact that some people are transgender, but rather, it’s society’s rejection of trans people. Research data from numerous studies show many trans people are rejected by their friends and families, often lose or are barred access to jobs or means to income, mistreated or denied proper access to health care, and are lacking of a strong support network. Because of these dismal conditions, 42% of trans people attempt suicide, and the suicide rate is 20x higher than the population at large.

I urge readers to educate themselves and others about trans suicide: https://lexiecannes.com/stats-on-transgender-discrimination-violence-and-suicide/


(Original article) On Oct. 1st, trans woman Kate von Roeder posted this on Facebook: “Goodbye, I’m killing myself.” She also tweeted something similiar on Twitter. And hasn’t been heard from since. Her earlier posts talked of buying a gun.

Kate’s friends replied urging her to reconsider, however the last several posts ended withWe just got off the phone with WeHo PD. She’s gone.” and Kate followed through according to the LAPD. I am very sorry.

And no posts since. No outpouring, no disbelief, no vigil planning, nothing — things one usually sees in the event of a real death. There was something else, too. No mutual friends. I’ve 5k friends on FB and not one in-common trans friend. My inquiries revealed that others noted the same.

This immediately triggered my hoax alarm. Unfortunately these unusual circumstances didn’t stop this incident from being shared across social media — over 250 shares on Facebook by the time I ran across it (now over 700) and it was also “reported” in a couple of bottom feeding news media outlets, including The Inquisitr and The Daily Dot. Her death was also reported in a number of gaming blogs — something she was heavily involved in according to her Facebook profile.

In every one of these reports, including the statement “confirmation by the police” pointed back to her Facebook page as the sole source. There was no independent confirmation that this event actually happened. I inquired to the writer of The Inquisitr article, Nathan Frances, about his sources a few days ago. He has not responded. I inquired at where she supposedly worked. No reply. I inquired of nearly a couple dozen people on Facebook and the news outlets commentators who claim to have personal knowledge or police confirmation of this the person’s death, and not one person was able to substantiate their claim — it apparently was all hearsay based, and they insisted their sources were correct.

My initial contacts with the LAPD and West Hollywood PD were less than successful. Evidence however, strongly points to West Hollywood, as do most claims and the victim’s own Facebook page. A second inquiry to West Hollywood PD was more successful. The duty officer, Sgt. Hewett made a through check, twice. Not only there was no name “Kate von Roeder” to be found in their records, there were no suicides reported on the days the suicide could have occurred.

It looks like we’ve been had, folks. More disturbing is how gullible people are in quickly believing reports based solely on one Facebook post. People just ate it up! Worse, people defended their beliefs in the incident as being factual based solely on “hearsay’.

As for The Inquisitr and The Daily Dot and their not confirming their facts and allowing rumor mongering to propagate in their comments section (traffic =$$$), their ugly tabloid underpinnings have been exposed — they don’t do journalism, they do exploitation!

As for Kate von Roeder, we don’t have enough information to know the whole story, what we DO know is that whatever happened didn’t do down the way you were lead to believe by your sharing friends on FB or shoddy bloggers.


On the upside, this means Kate may still be alive, but many of you may have been played for suckers.



Kate Von Roeder suicide hoax————

Watch LEXIE CANNES right now: http://www.amazon.com/Lexie-Cannes-CourtneyODonnell/dp/B00KEYH3LQ Or get the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332   

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/


Categories: Deaths, Murder, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

40 replies

  1. I’ve a hunch what happened, but I’ll wait for confirmation.

  2. I do sincerely hope that Kate is still alive. I also wonder why she would try to get attention in this manner. I do know that her talking of suicide is a cry for help. Let us not shun her if she is found alive, but get the help and counseling she desperately needs and is asking for.

  3. [Post deleted by moderator due to bogus email address/ad hominem comment. Opposing views are welcome, but to come in here and post ad hominem comments AND use a bogus email address is a no-no.]

  4. [post deleted by moderator. I welcome opposing views, but did you really think I would leave up a post from fuckyou@tumblr.com? Repost using a legit and non-bogus email address, please.]

  5. Unless and until you have hard evidence, your hunch needs to be kept to yourself. This article not only demeans the already unneeded death of a trans woman, it undermines the credibility of all your work.

  6. Hi. I’m a friend of Kates. Can you please take down this tasteless article. I was online with her when she took her life and trying to get clicks and especially the horrible meme picture is very hurtful to those of us that are mourning. If you need to see the death certificate before you relent, I will work on getting you a copy.

    Thank you.

  7. Hi Lexie, I think putting this out there on the basis of nothing more than a lack of confirmation from the police is questionable at best. Just a few weeks ago, Anita Sarkeesian was accused of lying about reporting death threats she has received to her local police. Someone called her area police department and since the police couldn’t immediately confirm it, they spread all over the internet that she had supposedly lied about it. Then a couple days later the police confirmed that they had in fact been in contact with her about it all along, and it was actually just a bureaucratic glitch that lead to someone not being able to confirm it on the phone when that person called.

    I don’t know exactly what happened in this case, but I have a feeling that posting this might not be such a good idea.

    • I understand your point. However, reports were made in the media that ‘police confirmed’ the death of the victim yet not one person who made this claim would source it (police department, police officer’s name, etc,) nor would anyone who also posted knowledge of the death cough up the same when I asked them directly. I’m holding THOSE people made these unsubstantiated claims accountable.

      The police have no accountability here at since no one has actually provided evidence the police actually did say one thing or another. Had someone done so, I could confirm their claim and write a story about another trans person who died as a result of society rejection of them.

      At this point, the only actual evidence we have on the table is a statement from a police officer by name who says there’s no record of a suicide, or any record of a person by name.

      So, by gosh, if someone has contrary statements from the police or “coroner”, by gosh, post it here and we can clear this up immediately.

      All this is basic Journalism 101: Confirm facts, write the story.

      Thanks for your comments.

      • Absolutely not. Journalism 101 is before you publish a report that would attack someone’s character, you sit on it until you are 100% sure. A couple inquiries coming up negative is far from hard evidence, it is simply a base to start an investigation. On Monday, a West Hollywood outlet published a report that indicated they had spoken to a coroner’s office about the incident. Unless they flat out lied, you fell extremely short in the confirming facts department.

      • You pretty much stated that it was a “hoax,” and that claim was baseless and false. An apology to the friends and family of this woman is in order.

        • Check your facts, I made no claim.

          • “Hoax? Looks that way”

            “It looks like we’ve been had, folks.”

            You’re dissembling. You come as close to making the claim as you possibly could without just saying “it was a hoax.” And you even created a photo-meme with her picture! You would think after all the sensationalistic reporting that gets piled on us from the outside world we wouldn’t do the same thing to each other, but that turns out not to be the case.

          • Coming up just short of making the claim doesn’t make this piece okay. The fact that you are trying to defend it on technicalities instead of apologizing is downright appalling. As is the fact that there is still a meme’d photo of her labeled with “Hoax?”

            You responded to a friend of Kate that she should provide proof of death. Do you not realize how messed up that is? She should be focused on grieving her dead friend, not having to seek out documentation to protect her dead friend from being defamed on the internet.

            Do you have no empathy for the additional pain this negligent journalism placed upon Kate’s loved ones?

            The lack of an even an insincere “we regret the error” apology has taken this beyond a failure in journalistic standards into a failure in basic human decency.

            • This. This blog post went far further than simply saying “We haven’t been able to track down confirmation of this and the police department doesn’t have a record of anyone by that name; if anyone has more information please let me know.” It was actively inviting skepticism over whether someone had actually died and even over whether Kate was a real person.

              Even if that conclusion were reasonable (and I’m not sure it is – if law enforcement told me they had no record of a person by a certain name, *and that person is trans,* there are plenty of obvious alternative explanations other than the person not existing, and plenty of people don’t actually live in the town they’ve listed on facebook for a whole variety of reasons), this post clearly hurt a lot of people who loved Kate and who’ve just experienced a pretty serious loss, and it’s worth apologizing for that.

              • Suicide, no matter how it’s reported, hurts. They ought not be reading anything online about the event at this time.

                A LOT of effort went into trying confirm the facts. Nobody would fess up to the contradictions or lack of sources. And there still are unexplained matters.

                I’ve done MORE than my share of helping to resolve the trans suicide problem. Enter “suicide” in the search box and see for yourself.

                Don’t agree? Then we’ll agree to disagree.

            • Sarah, So you want an apology for “coming short of making the claim”?

              Kate’s friend was the one offering ‘proof of death’. Stop making things up please.

              You’re using the emotional appeal argument fallacy here, so I have to stop.

  8. TVTP was able to confirm the death and get a case number from the Coroner’s Office. Unfortunately, this confirms the incident. So very sad. Condolences to those who knew her.

  9. A retraction in order…I get trying to make a point about journalistic integrity but there is some aspect of this that is kind of distasteful. You could of merely said that you couldn’t confirm the death than portraying it all as elaborate attention hoax

    • I didn’t say it WAS a hoax or an “elaborate attention hoax”. The victim couldn’t have known how much attention her suicide note would get. Most suicide notes/threats posted on FB don’t get hundreds of shares and/or reported in the media.

      I can’t retract anything that is factual.I didn’t state if she was actually dead or alive. The posters/media couldn’t/wouldn’t reveal the sources. Their sources are still unidentified, and in some cases, now proven wrong.

      What we can confirm factually is that she posted a suicide note and we have a confirmed coroner’s report that her death was a suicide. Everything else is moot at this point since we can no longer help her.

  10. Please publically apologize to the friends and family out there. You should feel ashamed that you did not check with the coroner’s office… LAPD or WeHo police will not have the record on file until maybe 2 or 3 weeks after the incident. Haven’t you had a car accident in LA yet? You should know that it takes a LONG time before it’s “on the record”. This was an awful, violent disregard to one’s life.

    • ” Haven’t you had a car accident in LA yet?” No, didn’t know that was a prerequisite for leaving internet comments. Sorry about your shitty driving skills, though.

      • Lexie lives in LA. She should know a little more about how LAPD works.

        • LA? What is your source for that information? Right there you’re already spreading false information, and if The Inquistr or The Daily Dot came here, quickly they’d report I live in LA based on a post in an internet forum without confirming whether the statement was factual. See how it works? Kind of hypocritical to be whining about “false” information while doing the VERY THING YOU’RE WHINING ABOUT.

          No, I don’t live in LA or even California for that matter.

    • Huh? What made you think this case would automatically end up in the coroner’s dept? Secondly the WeHo PD did have a current (almost immediate) list of deceased victims/people the police made contact with with suicide notations on it. Apparently she wasn’t on it because of the false information posted on her FB page and elsewhere about where this incident took place (remember the person announcing her death ‘just got of the phone with WeHo police.’.

      • Haven’t we just gone through a large, very public collective discussion of why many trans people might have information on facebook that doesn’t match their legal status?

        West Hollywood isn’t far from LA. I don’t know how California works in particular, but in general, if you make a call to one jurisdiction’s police force (say, calling the West Hollywood police because that’s where your friend’s facebook page says they live) about a person who happens to be in a neighboring jurisdiction (say, LA), the police from both jurisdictions will communicate and coordinate, and distraught 911 callers might get transferred to the neighboring jurisdiction’s police’s phone line without realizing it. But records are kept by jurisdiction in which events actually occurred, which is why it was the LA police, not the West Hollywood police, that had a record of the suicide.

  11. [Ah hominem comment deleted by moderator]

  12. Reblogged this on karaskonjectures and commented:
    Sadly, the suicide report about Kate von Roeder appears to NOT be a hoax.

    • What information do you have that can help clear this up? Please share! (not circular references to ms. Roeder’s own posts or blog/news stories that only reference those posts, of course)

  13. This was posted in the wrong section. It is apparently from Kate’s dad:

    “That is not a hoax. Kate took her life on October 1, 2014. I’m her father so that’s a date I will never forget.”


    We are sorry for your loss. And we do know that it was not a hoax as mentioned a number of times already.

    We are leaving this up because it will help educate others of the dire conditions for many trans people — especially the high suicide rate. Although nobody was in a position to help Kate at her time of need, perhaps her story can help others.

    Just for the record, this article in no way looks down on Kate personally. Many, many, trans people have been in her exact same position, but backed away from the edge at the last possible second. The incident was a burden placed on Kate by society, not the other way around.

    Thanks for commenting.

  14. No mention of Ms. Roeder on the Talenthouse FB page for that date, that this viewer can find.


  1. Facebook transgender suicide post: Hoax? Looks that way | Kira Moore's Closet
  2. (Update: Coroner report confirms suicide) Facebook transgender suicide post: Hoax? Looks that way | LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS | Kira Moore's Closet

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