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Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
A month ago, a retired prominent Albuquerque attorney and a young transgender woman who rented a room from him were reported missing.
The Northeast Albuquerque home was in disarray, and police warned they could be in danger.
They were right.
On Feb. 19 – a month and a day after friends and family last heard from 70-year-old Eugene Carrell Ray and 28-year-old Zakaria Fry – two bodies were discovered a couple of miles apart, dumped off the side of the road in the small community of Stanley, about 45 miles east of Albuquerque.
On Tuesday, police confirmed that the bodies were those of Ray and Fry.
But the mystery continues to deepen. Police have released few details, and the victims’ families say they have no idea how Ray and Fry met, or how long she had been renting a room from him.
In an interview Tuesday, Ray’s daughter, Alarie Ray-Garcia, said she was horrified to learn how they had been found.
“I don’t understand how someone can do that to anyone, just dump them like if they are trash,” she said. “It’s unfathomable to me.”
Ray, whose career as an attorney spanned 40 years, started as an assistant attorney general in the child support enforcement division, and then rose to the position of supervising attorney in the same division, Ray-Garcia said.
She said her father left the state position and opened his own family law practice, often serving as a guardian ad litem for children and as a part-time judge for domestic cases. Ray-Garcia, who was communications director for Gov. Bill Richardson and now owns her own public relations firm, said the family is shocked by the loss.
“He always called me his little girl, I’m 39 years old, and he still called me little girl – every time he talked to me,” Ray-Garcia said. “I’m just going to miss hearing that.”
Officer Simon Drobik, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, said the case is being investigated as a homicide. He did not know how Ray or Fry were killed or any other details about how they were found.
But a rancher told the Journal last week that he had found the body of a woman, presumed to be Fry, a transgender woman, stuffed in a garbage bin. Ray’s body was found some distance away, but the details of the discovery have not been disclosed.
Detectives had been pursuing some leads in the case a couple of weeks ago, but say they are still investigating.
Ray-Garcia said the last time she heard from her father, who had a wry sense of humor, was when he posted a meme on her Facebook page on Jan. 18 about the difficulties of parenting. When the family hadn’t heard from him again eight days later, they went to check on his house near Moon and Constitution NE, and found it in disarray, raising suspicions of violence.
They immediately reported him missing. When Fry’s family realized no one had heard from her either, she was reported missing, too. Ray-Garcia said that until that point she had not even known her father was renting out a room in his house. And Fry’s sister, Brittany Willis, also said she did not know how long Fry had been living in the home.
She said Fry had moved to Albuquerque from Indiana several years ago to be closer to her family, although they did not always see each other that often.
Willis said Fry was a fun-spirited, loving person and her family is saddened by how her life has been cut short. She said Fry was never without her 3-year-old Chihuahua-mix named Tinker Bell. The dog still has not been found.
“We will continue to pray and ask for prayers from others that justice will be served for my brother and (her) roommate Mr. Ray,” Willis said.
Fry’s death has not only hit her family, but has also left the transgender community disheartened and fearful, said Adrien Lawyer, the co-founder of the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico. He said they don’t know why Fry or Ray were killed.
Lawyer said that every fall Albuquerque takes part in the nationwide Transgender Day of Remembrance by writing the name of each transgender victim of violence on a luminaria and arranging them around the duck pond at the University of New Mexico.
Next November, there will be a candle lit for Fry.