“Sometimes it seems like yesterday, and sometimes it seems like forever ago,” Dawn Maher said about Sept. 3, 2012.
It was early in the morning that Labor Day holiday that her daughter, Kyra Cordova, was gunned down execution-style. Her body was found later that day in a wooded area off the 1100 block of Adams Avenue.
Maher marked the fifth anniversary with a visit to the area where her daughter was killed, continuing to tack up posters seeking information about her killer.
There have been few breaks in the case in the last five years. Shortly after the 27-year-old trans woman was killed, investigators said they had a person of interest in their sights but no arrest was ever made.
“They said her case is not a cold case because they do have a person of interest in mind; they say they’re waiting for someone to slip up or tell on them,” Maher said.
Philadelphia Police did not respond to PGN’s request for an update on the investigation.
Maher said she plans to also send another round of letters, with Cordova’s photo included, to law-enforcement and elected officials, urging renewed activity on the investigation.
“At year three, I sent a letter to the detective, the police commissioner, the mayor and got calls [from them]. It’s upsetting to just get no calls, no answers. I still want to hear something.”
Without an arrest, Maher said she takes solace in her hope that justice has been served another way.
“I like to believe in karma,” she said.
Maher also continues to go to counseling once a month.
“My counselor keeps trying to kick me out,” Maher laughed, “but then this time of year comes around and she says, ‘Never mind, you need this, come on in.’
"Someone at work the other day said, ‘I don’t know how you manage to function,’” Maher added, “and I said, ‘Well, you just kind of coast.’ Some days are better, some days are not. I just have to take each day as it comes.”
Educating others about trans equality is also a cathartic experience. Maher participated in several years of the Philly Trans March, bringing a number of family and friends with her, and plans to return to the Oct. 7 event.
Last year, she counseled a friend whose son came out as trans; it’s those youth who are being affected by anti-trans rhetoric, she said, including from the federal administration.
“When it comes to the military, there have been gay and trans people in the military in some aspects for centuries. Anybody who is willing to go out and defend me, you let them do it. What difference does it make?” she said about the recent reversal of trans military inclusion. “Instead of trying to help people and encourage oneness and inclusion, they’re wanting to separate people. We need to be helping young trans people to succeed down the road, and that’s not the way to do it.”