NSW Police have charged a man with manslaughter after Filipina transgender woman Mhelody Bruno died in Wagga Wagga in regional New South Wales.
Police and emergency services were called to a unit to assist Ms Bruno (pictured), who was unresponsive, at about 8am last Saturday (September 21).
NSW Ambulance paramedics conducted CPR and stabilised the 25-year-old before taking her to Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.
But despite the efforts of hospital staff, she died shortly after 10am last Sunday, a police spokesperson said.
Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death under Strike Force Lamson.
After police inquiries, the 31-year-old man was arrested at Wagga Wagga Police Station on Sunday afternoon (September 22).
He was later charged with manslaughter and granted strict conditional bail. He will appear in Wagga Wagga Local Court on November 6.
Writing on Facebook, several friends mourned Ms Bruno and said she had been visiting Australia from the Philippines.
They said she was due to fly home less than a week after her death.
NSW Police say family of Mhelody Bruno devastated
NSW Police Inspector Adrian Telfer told the Daily Advertiser on Thursday afternoon it was too early to determine the pair’s relationship.
“We do know that they were known to each other,” he told the publication.
Inspector Telfer said police had contacted the woman’s family earlier this week.
“We believe this person had been in Australia for the last couple of months,” he said.
“[The family] were devastated by the death of this lady. We will be providing them with as much assistance as we can over the coming months.”
NSW Police said in a statement the incident should not “give rise to concern that members of Wagga’s trans and gender-diverse community – or any community – are at ongoing risk of violence or harm.”
“While police continue to examine the circumstances, there is no residual risk to public safety arising from it,” a police spokesperson said.
“The Riverina is a safe, welcoming and inclusive place to live and visit for all.”
New South Wales LGBTIQ organisation ACON wrote on Twitter: “Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Mhelody Polan Bruno.
“ACON is in close contact with local authorities and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer team.
“[We] will keep the community updated as further details are released.”
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