VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Friends of Nikki Kuhnhausen, the transgender teen found slain earlier in December, described her as a good person who didn’t harm anyone.
Nikki, 17, had not contacted her family since June 5, according to the Vancouver Police Department. Nikki’s friends told detectives she had been staying with a friend on the night of June 5 but had left to meet a man who was later identified as David Bogdanov.
A citizen found a human skull on Dec. 7 in the Larch Mountain woods. A search and rescue team was deployed, which then searched the very steep and wooded area for any other remains and evidence. Forensic analysis later confirmed the skull, along with additional remains, belonged to Nikki.
Clark County Medical Examiner Dr. Burt ruled Nikki’s death a homicide by asphyxiation.
Police made contact with Bogdanov on Tuesday, who then declined to make any further comments. He was then arrested for second-degree murder and booked into the Clark County Jail.
Investigators believe her death was not premeditated.
Her friends Taylor and Arielle talked with KOIN 6 News about her.
“We are all human and she didn’t deserve that,” Taylor said. “She was so bright. Everything was a smile. Even if she was just coming up to you she was always smiling.”
Taylor said Nikki was supposed to graduate with them at Hudson Bay. “Her 18th birthday, we didn’t get to see her for it.”
Arielle said simply, “We love her and we just want justice for our friend.”
A vigil is planned in Nikki’s honor on Friday, December 20 at 5 pm at Vancouver United Church of Christ.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.