May 10, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Arrest made in Ohio trans murder case
Cemia Ce Ce Acoff, transgender, Cleveland, murder, gay news, Washington Blade

The decomposed body of Cemia ‘Ce Ce’ Dove was found in a pond last month. (Photo courtesy Facebook)(Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Police in the Cleveland suburb of Olmsted Township, Ohio, have arrested a 36-year-old man for the murder of transgender woman Cemia “Ce Ce” Dove, 20, whose body was found April 17 in a pond tied to a concrete block and steel pipe.

With the assistance of members of the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force, Olmsted Township police on May 3 apprehended Andre L. Bridges at his residence in Parma, Ohio, another nearby suburb of Cleveland, according to Police Lt. Matthew Vanyo.

Vanyo said Bridges was being held in the Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland.

The arrest in the Dove murder came less than a week before Cleveland police apprehended 52-year-old Ariel Castro for kidnapping and holding captive for more than 10 years three young women in his Cleveland house. The sensational news surrounding that case, which captured international headlines, overshadowed the Dove case.

Dove, whose legal name released by police is Carl Acoff Jr., had been stabbed multiple times before being dumped in a pond in a remote section of Olmsted Township, police said. Police said the body was found nude from the waist down.

A resident of Cleveland, Dove had been reported missing on March 27. Police at first were unable to identify the body found in the pond due to decomposition but later made the identification by matching DNA samples taken from Dove’s family members in Cleveland.

Vanyo declined to disclose how investigators linked Bridges to the murder, saying the case remains open.

“There is still an active, ongoing investigation at this time,” he told the Blade on Thursday.

Vanyo also declined to say whether investigators believe there are other suspects in the case.

“We want to make sure that the most thorough, complete, accurate investigation is being done,” he said.

The New York-based National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which monitors anti-LGBT violence nationwide, noted that Dove was the third transgender woman of color to be murdered in April.

Kelly Young, a 29-year-old black transgender woman, was found shot to death inside a home in Baltimore on April 3. On April 4, 30-year-old Ashley Sinclair, another black transgender woman, was found shot to death in a wooded area in Orange County, Fla.

“Each year, NCAVP tracks the homicides of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in the U.S. in which an anti-LGBTQ motive is known,” Chai Jindasurat, an NCAVP official, said in a statement. “However, for many LGBTQ homicide victims, especially transgender women and people of color who are disproportionally affected by anti-LGBTQ violence, a motive is never determined.”

Police investigating the Cemia Dove murder in Ohio have not disclosed whether they have identified a motive in the case.

Andre Bridges, crime, gay news, Washington Blade

Andre Bridges, 36, was arrested May 3 at a residence in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio, for the murder of transgender woman Cemia Acoff Dove, whose body was found April 17. (Photo courtesy of the Olmsted Township Police Department)

LGBT activists in Cleveland and the national group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) denounced what they called a display of blatant insensitivity by the mainstream media in its coverage of the Dove murder.

Local news media outlets, including TV stations and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, initially identified Dove only by her legal name, Carl Acoff, which was released by police. Some media reports repeatedly referred to her as “he,” even though authorities reported the body was found partially dressed in female clothes.

Activists urged media outlets to follow the Associated Press guidelines for covering the transgender community, which call for referring to transgender people by the gender with which they identify and by the name that reflects that gender.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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