Keyiariah Quick was so close to getting out. She grew up in a small hamlet in rural North Carolina just over an hour’s drive from Greensboro. Kris Wilson, a friend who also says she was Quick’s second cousin, describes the area as the kind of place where passersby might see “chickens running around in the yard” and where it could be miles to the nearest store.
Wilson moved to Greensboro in 2005, and Quick had allegedly been staying with her on and off over the past year. Quick’s parents weren’t accepting of the fact that she was transgender, Wilson says, and she took the 25-year-old under her wing, calling Quick her “understudy and protege.”
Quick, who worked at the fast-food restaurant Sonic, hoped to find a new job in the city and move in full-time, Wilson adds.
But there was a snag in their plan: Wilson says she had to suddenly leave her place and find a new apartment. While she looked for somewhere for the two of them to live, Quick had to go back home for a week. The last time the two spoke was on Friday, and Wilson remembers that Quick was “excited” about the prospect of her new life in Greensboro.
That dream never came to fruition. On Saturday, Quick’s body was discovered by police officers in the nearby town of Vass in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to a representative from the Moore County Sheriff Department.
“It’s just such a sad story,” Wilson tells Out. “I'm still in utter disbelief. I just can't believe it.”
Many of the details are still being confirmed at the time of writing, however. On Monday, speculation began to circulate on social media as to the cause of Quick’s death, with a post in the r/transgender subreddit claiming she was murdered. The Black Trans Travel Fund further alleged Quick was the 15th trans woman of color to be killed in 2019.
While Wilson claims a man Quick was casually seeing forced her to ingest an unknown substance which made her “start foaming at the mouth,” a representative for the Moore County Sheriff Department alleges the death was likely an opioid overdose. Its office doesn’t suspect foul play.
An autopsy is currently being performed, officials add.
The discrepancies only continue from there. According to Wilson, a suspect is being held on bond but police say there’s no record of any arrests following the incident. Wilson says Quick was discovered at 1 p.m. on Saturday, but law enforcement says the body was found around 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m.
Should Out receive further confirmation she was killed, it would make Quick the second transgender woman murdered in North Carolina in the past three months. On June 6, the body of Chanel Scurlock was discovered in a field in Lumberton, just over a half hour’s distance from Fayetteville, after she was robbed and fatally shot. A suspect was arrested less than a week after the 23-year-old’s death.
A funeral is being planned on Quick’s behalf. It will reportedly be held at the Open House Deliverance Mission in Carthage on Saturday, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help raise money for funeral expenses.
Out has reached out to the organizers of both the service and the fundraiser and will update this story if they respond.
But as a community comes together to mourn Quick, Wilson hopes people remember her not as a statistic but as the person she was: an aspiring dancer and singer who loved Mary J. Blige and was always smiling. As a fellow trans woman of color who saw in Quick a confidant and kindred spirit, she says Quick was a “child at heart” because, like many young black trans girls, she “never had a childhood.”
“I wish that I could just turn the hands of time and have kept her here, but I can’t beat myself up,” Wilson says. “All I can do is keep praying and hope that justice is served.”
UPDATE: Sister Roshauna Quick tells journalist Kate Sosin of NewNowNext that any claims her sibling was the victim of a homicide are not "true at all." In a Wednesdat tweet, Sosin reports Roshauna asked people to "stop suggesting she was murdered."
SECOND UPDATE: A second source, who says she was "best friends" with Quick, also stated she was not murdered. She declined to comment for this story.