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Man charged with hate crime in death of transgender teen

David Bogdanov, 25, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen.

VANCOUVER, WASH. — A judge on Thursday set bail at $750,000 for a man charged with a hate crime in the death of a transgender teenager.

Prosecutors had asked Clark County Judge David Gregerson to order no bail, or a minimum $6 million bail, for David Bogdanov, of Vancouver, but the judge said the lower amount was appropriate because Bogdanov has no prior criminal history.

Image: Nikki Kuhnhausen
Nikki Kuhnhausen.Vancouver Police Dept.

Bogdanov, 25, was arrested Dec. 17 and charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen.

Kuhnhausen disappeared June 6 and her remains were discovered in a remote area of Larch Mountain on Dec. 7 by someone gathering bear grass.

Prosecutors recently added a hate crime charge because they believe Bogdanov strangled Kuhnhausen after learning she was transgender, The Columbian newspaper reported.

A large crowd turned up for the bail hearing and rallied outside the courthouse to show support for Kuhnhausen's family and to raise awareness of the dangers that face transgender youth. So many people attended the hearing that some had to watch the hearing from a second room through a closed-caption TV system.

Hundreds of people also attended a Dec. 20 vigil for the teen at Vancouver United Church of Christ in Hazel Dell.

In court documents, Vancouver police say Kuhnhausen and Bogdanov met in downtown Vancouver on June 6 and he and his brothers invited her to a bar for a drink. Bogdanov told detectives he gave her his coat because she was cold and after one drink, he let her keep what was left in a bottle of vodka before she returned home.

Kuhnhuasen did go home, but went out again to meet Bogdanov several hours later. At some point, court documents say, she told Bogdanov she was assigned male at birth.

In an Oct. 2 interview with police, Bogdanov said at that point he asked Kuhnhausen to get out of his van and he never saw her again.

He told detectives he was “shocked," “uncomfortable,” and “really really disturbed” to learn that Kuhnhausen was transgender, according to the affidavit. Detectives wrote in court documents that they believe that is when Bogdanov killed the teen.

Cell phone records show Bogdanov was in the Larch Mountain area later in the day on June 6.

A medical examiner ruled the teen's cause of death was asphyxiation.

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