You don't generally see a police department and Orange County's LGBT resource center sounding the alarm about the same thing, but that changed Thursday concerning the death of a 40-year-old transgender woman who'd attended a “silicone party” in Santa Ana.
Spokesmen for The Center OC and Santa Ana Police Department were interviewed separately by Los Angeles-based television reporters about the investigation into the unidentified woman's death.
She had apparently attended a December party in Santa Ana, where invitees received silicone injections. A man in the process of becoming a woman, she got her shots in her buttocks.
But she entered a hospital with respiratory problems on Jan. 1 and was pronounced dead at 7:06 p.m. on Jan. 21. Her death prompted hospital officials to contact the Orange County coroner, which found she died from silicone embolism syndrome. The coroner then notified the Santa Ana Police Department.
“We're looking into the legality of the administered silicone,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told City News Service. The Santa Ana Police spokesman added that the Orange County District Attorney's Office has been asked to research the issue from a legal standpoint.
As for his department's investigation, Bertagna had earlier told a KABC news reporter, “We want to know who was the person who injected her. Was it a doctor? What was injected into her?”
Silicone injections at parties can cost $400 to $1,000, depending on how many people show up for a shot, Bertagna told City News Service. That's still considerably cheaper
than going through legitimate sources that would also ensure a patient was healthy enough to receive an injection.
“We want people to know that if you're going to these parties and these are non-medical people and you don't know what you're getting or what's in these injections then you're putting your life at risk,” Bertagna warned.
A spokesman with The Center OC (my apologies for not catching his name) appeared in the KABC piece with a similar warning to people thinking about attending silicone parties or injecting chemicals or anything else into themselves without knowing the possible consequences.
He also called the 40-year-old's death another sad commentary on body issues that plague women.
Transgender and otherwise.
Anyone who can help investigators is asked to contact Orange County Crime Stoppers, even anonymously, at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters “OCCS”.)
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.