Wednesday December 21, 1988 New York, New York. Venus Xtravaganza is a 23-year-old Transgender Latina woman actress and survivor sex worker. She is a member of the legendary Xtravaganza Family of the city’s ballroom scene. Venus is discovered strangled inside the Duchess Hotel, in room 113, the last room on the left.

The case begins around 9:00am Eastern Standard Time. That morning, housekeeping staff member Marco Rios discovers the body of a young woman stuffed underneath a queen size mattress. He calls 911, and detectives from the Hudson River district converge on the scene. Detective Donatello Genovese arrives and makes a note of this hateful homicide. Lead forensics investigator Winston Chamberlain begins to cordon off the crime scene and dust for fingerprints. Co-lead investigator Jackson Hollis gets fingerprints from the body and takes them to be conducted for analysis.

While the investigation into this hateful homicide is underway, Angie Xtravaganza, the “house mother” of Venus Xtravaganza, begins to worry that her daughter has not returned from a night out with a client. She summons the Xtravaganaza family to recall the last steps of Venus. Her “house sister,” Carmen, begins to search for Venus, recalling her last known location was at The Duchess Hotel. Carmen does not know who the gentleman was, but recalls Venus stating he was, “white, wealthy, and respectable.” The family calls the Duchess Hotel and is placed on hold. Detective Genovese calls to let them know a body has been discovered, but he’s not sure if it was Venus.

The Xtravaganza family prepares for the potential news that the body discovered in the last room on the left could be Venus. The family rushes over to The Duchess Hotel for answers, but is met with hostility and suspicion. They are told to return home.

Angie, Carmen, and the rest of the family begin to create missing persons flyers and distribute them. As they are returning home from searching for Venus, they find Detective Genovese at their door. He wants the family to come with him to the coroner’s office to identify the body. The Xtravagnaza family braces themself for this potentially heartbreaking news.

The family arrives, and Venus’s identity is confirmed by matching her fingerprints to those collected during a prior arrest.The family also confirms that the clothing belongs to Venus–a beautiful Christmas sweater, some black leggings and beautiful red pumps. The coroner confirms Venus was sexually assaulted and strangled.

The family prepares to inform Venus’s family of birth, who resides over 100 miles away. Unfortunately, Venus’s birth family was not supportive of her journey, and they give permission for the Xtravaganza family to lay her to rest. Venus is cremated on January 10, 1989, and her ashes are scattered during a beautiful ceremony.

Her hateful homicide remains unsolved 35 years later.

Venus Xtravaganza was born on May 22, 1965 in Jersey City, New Jersey to John and Olga Pellagatti, the only daughter of their five children. Venus loved all kinds of music from Whitney Houston to Gloria Estefan,. Her favorite colors were yellow, and blue. She thrived in school, loving math and geography. Venus always dreamed of becoming a movie star and being beloved by the world.

Those dreams encouraged her to begin her gender journey around the age of 14. She was kicked out of her Jersey City home and relocated to New York City around 1980, where she remained until her hateful homicide.

When she moved to New York, she met Hector (a cisgender queer Latino man) and Angie Xtravaganza (a transgender Latina woman), a father and daughter duo who fully embraced Venus. The three along with the rest of the family welcomed Venus with open arms. She always felt like the Goddess Venus and felt the name embodied her. It did. The Goddess turned heads.

Venus’s dreams of becoming a star were on the horizon in 1986, when she was invited to be part of an upcoming documentary called “Paris is Burning.” The now-famous film features the lives of New York’s queer and transgender communities of color, particularly Black and Brown transgender people. Unfortunately, Venus’s hateful homicide occurred in the middle of production, and though she can be seen in certain parts of the film, her fate was revealed once the film was completed and released in March of 1990.

A Hateful Homicide Season 5 launched Saturday August 5, 2023 at 12pm (PST) and is available on Audible, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Apple and Spotify Podcasts. A Hateful Homicide joined the DarkCast Network in September 2022 and is excited to announce that we will be attending our first ever True Crime and Paranormal Activity Festival in Austin, Texas from August 25-27, 2023. A Hateful Homicide has also been nominated for two awards: Best LGBTQIA2+ Podcast via Black Podcasting Network and Breakout True Crime Podcast via International Women’s Podcasting Network. A Hateful Homicide’s website is

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A Hateful Homicide has been a vendor for West Hollywood Pride, Compton Pride, and Trans Pride Long Beach. Check out the trailer to Venus’s case