DANGRIGA, STANN CREEK, Mon. June 6, 2016–Vanessa Champagne Paris, 21, born Perfilio Rodriguez, who was noted for dressing like, and living the life of, a woman despite being biologically male, died of what is suspected to be food poisoning on Friday night, June 3. According to Independence police reports, Rodriguez had gone to Dangriga on the morning of Wednesday, June 1, to apply for his Social Security card and other personal documents.
When he returned to Independence on Wednesday night at around 8:30 p.m., he reportedly began to complain of chronic pain in the stomach. On Thursday, his father found him almost unconscious on the floor at their home and rushed him to a polyclinic and then to the Southern Regional Hospital on Friday after his condition had worsened.
On Friday, June 3, at about 10 p.m. Rodriguez was pronounced dead by a medical doctor.
Police are unable to conclude whether he died as a result of poisoning — and whether that poisoining was accidental or intentional— and are awaiting the results of a post-mortem scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Some of Rodriguez’s relatives believe that he was poisoned by homophobic individuals. Other persons wonder whether it could have been a case of suicide, since Rodriguez had lost his mother almost two weeks ago.
Rodriguez entered the media spotlight in April 2014 when he was stoned by a group of men as he walked on Vernon Street in Belize City, dressed in women’s clothing. He claimed that he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.