How I Caught My Killer (2023) s01e01 Episode Script

Social media? Yeah, it was her thing.


NARRATOR: You know those
people who post nonstop?
Pics, vids, challenges?
The people who give us full
access to their lives
to who they are.
That is 17-year-old
Nikki Kuhnhausen.
- Why are you so
obsessed with me?

- Social media, yeah,
it was her thing.
- She had like 10,000 followers.
NARRATOR: But then one day,
her posts just stopped.
[cell phone dings]
Nikki disappears.
TAYLOR WATTS: I thought someone
had her tied up somewhere.
[voice breaking] She was
hurt and I, I just

NARRATOR: Days go by.
Her friends, family,
and followers on edge.
Then investigators uncover
their first major clue
on Nikki's social media.
- I couldn't believe
what happened.

Theme music playing ♪
MAN 1: She solved her own
murder from beyond the grave.
MAN 2: The fitness
app on the phone,
it was overwhelming evidence.
I've been haunted
by the visions ♪
That I've seen
with my own eyes ♪
And the only way to find you ♪
Is to go beneath the lies ♪

MAN 3: She did help
catch this killer.

NARRATOR: June 15th, 2019.
Vancouver, Washington.
When 17-year-old Nikki
Kuhnhausen wants to feel free,
she posts a TikTok.

Everything will be alright ♪
Feel beautiful, she uploads
a selfie on Instagram.
Everything will be just fine ♪
Lonely, hits up the
BFF on Snapchat.

Everything will be just fine ♪
But one ordinary summer day,
all her social media
posts suddenly stopped.

The first person to realize
that something is wrong
[man speaks indistinctly]
is Nikki's mother, Lisa.
- It was Nikki's.
Thank you.
[line ringing]
So at 8:34 on June
5th, Nikki called me.
She told me she was
at my friend's house.
I called her at 11:00, because
I always called her at 11:00.
She texted me back,
"I love you, Mommy."
I said, "Honey, I have
to be at work at two."

The next day
my message went unread,
I thought, that
that's just weird,
so I called and left
another message,
"You know I need to talk
to you, where are you?"
[line ringing]

older brother Konrad
knows something is off.

not replying to our mom
would never happen, never.
She would always reply to her.
[line ringing]
[keypad beeping]
- I was just getting voice mail
after voice mail after voice mail.
And that's when I knew
something was wrong.
NARRATOR: Nikki and her
mom are super close,
an unbreakable bond, ever
since she was a baby.
- Nikki was always sassy.
Here she is on her
third birthday.
She would crawl around at my ankles
when I was trying to get my makeup on
and while her brothers
would be doing Matchbox.
And she'd crawl out of
the bathroom with makeup
and her two older
brothers would say,
"Mom, why'd you do
that to Nikki again?"
And I'm like, "I didn't,
she did it to herself."
You know, so she
started way young.
[children giggling]
NARRATOR: Her other
big brother Alex
knew Nikki was truly
unique early on.
- Growing up, she
always wore high heels
and wearing makeup,
wearing dresses,
you know, I'm playing
with my G.I. Joes
and she's playing
with Barbie dolls.
- In middle school is when she
fully transformed into Nikki
and I never saw Nicholas again.
Come on to me ♪
My sweet self ♪
This is ♪
- There were no gay
people in our life at all,
and here's Nikki in
the middle of it all.

But it seemed natural.
She just lead us down her road
and her journey of her life
and we followed, you know.

NARRATOR: A lot of people
want to follow Nikki's journey
and she shares it
openly on social media.
Look how they dress ♪
Looking at them ♪
- She started on
social media at 14.

had Snapchat, Instagram,
Twitter, Facebook,
you name it, she used it.
Show your face,
you're the party girl ♪
Show your face,
you're the party girl ♪
- And, I mean, she was famous.
Show your face,
you're the party girl ♪
Show your face,
you're the party girl ♪
It was incredible.
Ohh ♪

NARRATOR: So by the
time Nikki goes missing,
in the early hours
of June 6th

She has a community of
loved ones who want answers.
Her mother Lisa
contacts authorities,
but after four days, she
becomes even more desperate
after not hearing anything.
LISA WOODS: When I made
the missing persons report,
I told them, you
need to understand
Nikki's being held against
her will or she's dead.

"Well, wait, let's
not, let's not jump"
"No, you need to jump,
"you need to go that frame
of mind in this case,
"because she wouldn't
leave me alone this long,
you have to understand."

NARRATOR: With every
second that goes by,
Nikki's chances of being
sound safe slip away.
For investigators
in the Vancouver PD,
the clock is ticking,
but they have no leads.

is Sergeant Julie Ballou.
I'm with the Vancouver
Police Department,
in the digital evidence
cybercrime unit.
I knew that she was
a transgender teen
and it's not uncommon
for transgender youth
and/or LGBTQ youth in general
to go missing or to run away.
Oftentimes though, it's because they
don't have a supportive family at home,
but she had a great
relationship with her mom,
she kept in touch
with her friends,
so when her social media
accounts basically went dead,
that was a big red flag for us.
But we just don't have
any leads to follow up on.

NARRATOR: While the detectives
begin their investigation
Nikki's loved ones push on
every front to find her.
Turning to the social media
sites that are Nikki's life.
- I'm Taylor Watts, and I'm
Nikki Kuhnhausen's best friend.
We did Facebook posts,
we made a group chat,
it was on the news.

name is Blair Stenvick.
I'm a former news reporter
for the Portland Mercury.
I have been kind of
consistently reported
on LGBTQ+ issues for years
and so I knew that trans people
are four times more likely
from cisgender people
to at some point become a
victim of a violent crime.
NARRATOR: Blair and other
reporters spread the word.
A young girl is missing
and leads start to pour in.
[cell phone dinging]
LISA: A lot of people
were messaging me,
giving me information.
Saw her there, and
possibly sported her there,
took a quick picture of
someone on the corner.
All the tips and the leads
and the here and the there.
And nothing.
NARRATOR: Then, seven days
after she goes missing,
investigators uncover
their first major clue
and it's related to
Nikki's Snapchat account.

SGT. BALLOU: On June 13th,
Lisa contacts law enforcement
and says that she's learned
that Nikki has been staying with a
couple of friends, Faith and Tiffany,
at an apartment
complex in Vancouver.

They both agree to come
to the police department
and speak with detectives.
reveals a key detail
and the mystery of
Nikki's disappearance
takes an unexpected turn.
SGT. BALLOU: I think a lot
of people were surprised
with this information.

NARRATOR: On June 5th,
the last time Nikki Kuhnhausen
is seen by her roommate Faith,
Nikki borrows Faith's phone to log
on to Snapchat and talk with a man
who she meets up with
several hours later.

But Nikki then logs
out of Faith's phone.
And finding out who she spoke
to is going to be tough.
SGT. BALLOU: Police officers
can't just go to Snapchat and say,
"Hey, give me all of her
account information."
You know, users
have privacy rights,
so we have to ask for those
records by way of a search warrant.
do just that.
They submit their
search warrant.
But Snapchat may hold fast,
they may not give investigators
the info they need.
[thunder rumbling]
[sirens wailing]
White collar never
fit clean on me ♪
NARRATOR: Weeks go by.
Playing dirty, trying
to switch on me ♪
But then, Snapchat
comes through.

And investigators find a name.

- Nikki had been communicating with
a man identified as David Bogdanov.

He sent her an address.
She said, "Okay."
He said, "White van, lol."
And it sounded like the two were
making arrangements to meet up.

In addition to
the communication,
Snapchat recorded the
information on where he was.
As David was Snapchatting,
he was outside of Nikki's
apartment, picking her up.

is David Bogdanov?
- Me, personally, I didn't
know too many details,
I had not heard of him.

NARRATOR: She isn't alone.
David is a complete stranger
to Nikki's family and friends,
so the police dig in to
find out everything they can
about the 25-year-old.
- David was from a very
large Russian family,
he had multiple
brothers and sisters.

He seemed to be involved
in a family business
in construction and
flooring as his regular job.

David didn't have
a criminal history.
Nothing showed up in his background
that was an obvious red flag to us.

NARRATOR: David looks
clean, a model citizen.
But Snapchat records
clearly show him
talking with Nikki the
night she disappeared.
And location data puts him
right outside her apartment
while they're
messaging each other.

SGT. BALLOU: At this point
in the investigation,
David is definitely considered
a person of interest,
so the next step is trying
to get a hold of David
and ask him what happened,
what were the circumstances
of your interaction with her?
[line ringing]
We made multiple attempts to
try and get a hold of David,
phone calls and text messages
and business cards left,
and he was not
returning our call.
He was not getting back to us.

NARRATOR: After nearly a week
of not hearing from David,
police turn their
attention to his family.
SGT. BALLOU: So we first reach
out to Artur, David's brother.
He said that David
was out backpacking,
and he wasn't there,
and wasn't quite sure
how to get a hold of him or
when he was gonna return.
So after talking to Artur,
we contacted another
brother, Stan.
[doorbell dings]
And Stan was kinda nervous
and said on the
night of question
he didn't really remember
if David was even with him.
And when he was asked
about David backpacking,
he sort of seemed surprised to
learn that he might be backpacking.
But even surprised that
was even a suggestion.

Given Stan's demeanor and
the conflicting information
that Stan gave versus Artur,
it's possible that one of
the brothers was involved
or one of the brothers
knew what happened.
We didn't wanna rule out anybody
as a suspect at that point.

But we had to keep trying and
keep looking for David Bogdanov.
NARRATOR: David isn't
answering calls,
responding to texts.
More and more time passes.
Is David still around?
Did something happen to David
too that night with Nikki?
So police go back to
the only lead they have.
They turn to Snapchat.
They message him through
the app on September 5th,
three months after
Nikki went missing,
and there's a
glimmer of progress.

- We sent David a Snapchat to say,
"Hey, we'd like to talk with you."

The message was read,
so we believe that
he saw the message,
but we didn't get a response.

nowhere to be found,
complete radio silence.
They Snapchat him again on
September 12th, a week later.

But this time, he
responds the next day.

- On October 2nd, 2019,
David finally agrees
to meet with Detective Jensen.

NARRATOR: David was the
last person to see Nikki.
Now it's time to find
out what he knows.
Could he hold the key to
bringing Nikki home alive?

NARRATOR: After four
months with Nikki missing,
detectives have
their first lead.
Inside the darkest night ♪
Their first talk with
a person of interest,
David Bogdanov.
Some words I should've said ♪
But David doesn't
have much insight.
They burn inside my head ♪

SGT. BALLOU: David said
that he met her downtown
in Downtown Vancouver, struck
up conversation with her,
and he said he gave
her his coat

And they parted ways.
She later reached out
to him on Snapchat,
and the two made
arrangements to meet up.
He said that they went to
hang out with his brothers.

NARRATOR: But David's
brothers told the police
they didn't know if they
saw them that night.

Someone's lying, but why?
And then, David says this,
which piques the interest
of the prosecutor's office.
name's Kristen Arnaud.
I'm a deputy prosecutor
here in Clark County.
In that interview, he said that
she mentioned that she was trans,
and he immediately told
her to get out of the car.

ARNAUD: So at that point, he
says that she walked away.
He volunteered not
responsive to any questions,
uh, really derogatory
things that he felt
about people who are trans.

I ♪
Can't make you stay ♪
NARRATOR: However, even though
things don't seem right,
there isn't much that
investigators can do.
ARNAUD: Without a
body, David Bogdanov,
he was still a person of
interest and not a suspect,
which was why he walked
away from that interview.

SGT. BALLOU: At this point
in the investigation,
we don't have really
much else to go on.

NARRATOR: Unfortunately,
that soon changes.
The lights, they dim
black where we were ♪
At last ♪
And the worst-case
scenario happens.
We take our bow ♪

breaking news tonight,
a hiker discovered a
skull near a logging road
on Larch Mountain.

- A man was near Larch Mountain.
It is an area
outside of Vancouver
where people go to shoot guns
regularly, uh, to go hunting.

This man was out in the
boonies collecting fair grass
and while he was
foraging in the forest

He came across what he
believed to be human remains.

And called 911.

The remains that were
found out in the wilderness
were basically bare bones.
[camera shutter clicks]
And it made it difficult for investigators
to piece together what had happened.
ARNAUD: Detectives
scoured the area,
spent two days out in the
mountains, picking apart everything.
NARRATOR: There's almost
nothing left of the remains
that can be used to
identify the body,
but based on items found
scattered around it,
police have a sneaking suspicion
about who they've
tragically found.
[camera shutter clicking]

ARNAUD: There was
matching jewelry,
matching clothing,
black extensions
with a white stripe.
There was a pretty distinctive
hi-vis yellow jacket
that coordinated with what
images that we had of Nikki
from social media.
NARRATOR: Everyone's worst
fears are soon confirmed.
My eyes close ♪
And I go back to the night ♪
LT. TOM RYAN: With the
forensic examination
of the remains,
we were able to confirm the remains
belonged to Nikki Kuhnhausen.
Our condolences go out to the
family and friends of Nikki.

- [voice breaking] When I found
out they found Nikki's remains,
I was at my mom's house.
And I-I just
Cried, lost it.
So, uh, it was very hard.
LISA: I fell on my knees
and started screaming.

I just wish it didn't
have to be my baby.

- [voice breaking]
You beat yourself up
a lot,
a lot more than you should.

NARRATOR: Nikki wasn't just a
member of a grieving family.
Heartbroken and
angry over her story,
people are inspired to act.

LISA: This is one
of my favorite ones.
LINDEN WALLS: I love this one.
- I think she's in
eighth grade in that one.
- Her eyebrows and makeup
are just, like, on point.
I am Linden Wells,
I am a member of the Justice
for Nikki Task Force,
which was formed in
late December 2019
after Nikki's
remains were found.
The goal of the task force was to make
sure that Nikki's story was heard.
SPEAKER: It is to build a
coalition of activists and people,
people from this community
to come together,
continue paying
attention to this case,
continue to make sure that media
stays aware of what's going on.
task force stays true
to honoring Nikki's legacy.

- We just got information
just a few minutes ago
that there will be a vigil
for Nikki this Friday from 5:00 till 7:00
at the Vancouver United Church of Christ.
REPORTER: We're at a
standing room only.
In fact, people are
spilling out into the lobby,
that is how packed it is.
These people came out not only
to support Nikki
Kuhnhausen's family,
but to also support the
transgender community.
I've got to think
of an escape ♪
I've got to think of a plan ♪
- March 2020, we all came together
for Nikki's celebration of life
and her celebration
of life was beautiful.

- You could see how many people's
lives were touched by Nikki
and people from all
different walks of life.
But now my name's a command ♪
KONRAD: Nikki always
thought she was alone.
And then when she passed away,
seeing all those
people, it was like,
wow, she actually had
all of these people.
- The outpouring of love,
it was it was incredible.
Pretty little
thing he says to me ♪
Pretty little thing,
don't mess with me ♪
Just so I can bring you down ♪

wanted answers.
People wanted justice.
BLAIR: Supporters were
commenting every day.
People who knew her
as well as people
who were, you know, attached
to the political side of things
really came together
after Nikki's death
to get justice for her.
NARRATOR: And the first step
is to find out how she died.
the items of evidence
that the medical
examiner reviewed
was this phone charging cord that
was found with Nikki's remains.
And the phone charging cord
was basically tied in a knot.
And within that knot in the middle was
tiny bone fragments as well as hair.

The medical examiner,
based on the evidence,
they made a ruling that Nikki
died of homicidal violence
and the likely method
was strangulation.

NARRATOR: Now the police
are looking for a murderer.

Detectives wonder who had
the motive to kill Nikki
in such a brutal way?
David Bogdanov is
an obvious suspect,
but Nikki's family
has a secret to share.
Something that happened
a year earlier.

LISA: When she was
16, I was at work
[telephone ringing]
and the front manager
comes over to relieve me
and says, "You've got
a call on the phone.
It's a detective, it's
something about Nikki."

So I go to the phone
and I said, "Hello?"
And they said that
Nikki was at OHSU.
And she had been
shot six times.
[gunshots thumping]

wanted her dead.
But who, and did they
finally finish the job?

[siren wailing]
NARRATOR: A year before
Nikki's disappearance,
she's in the ICU,
fighting for her life.
Standing helpless
by my window tonight ♪
LISA: It was the longest drive
from Vancouver to the hospital.
The longest drive.

She was shot once through here,
missed the main
artery right here,
twice in the stomach,
once through the neck,
and once through the hand.
[gunshots thumping]
Nikki was shot point-blank
range in the car.
And pushed out onto the street.
They drove off.

She crawled to the first house.
They wouldn't open
the door for her.
So she crawled to
the second house.
And that's the last
thing she remembers.

She was a walking miracle.


- Nikki never really talked about,
like, who shot her or anything.
She didn't get anybody involved.
What you gonna do, what you
gonna do, what you gonna do? ♪
ALEX: They asked
her who did it.
She would always say, you know,
"He'll get his when he gets his."

What you gonna do? ♪
remains silent,
never pressing charges.
So the police close the case
without ever conducting
a full investigation
into the shooting.
ALEX: When Nikki went missing,
I thought about who
would wanna harm her,
and that's the only person
that I could think of.
With him not being apprehended,
maybe he would want to do that again.
NARRATOR: The police
never do find out
who made the attempt
on Nikki's life.
The shooter's identity
remains a mystery.
What you gonna do? ♪
It's a dead end.
With time passing by, and now
desperate to find answers
police take another
look at the last person
Nikki messaged on social media,
David Bogdanov.

- David was, as far as we knew, the
last person who had seen her alive.

NARRATOR: David Bogdanov,
a person of interest
with no known connection to
the body or the murder weapon,
but with holes in his story.

Conflicting accounts of
what occurred the night
of the disappearance.
So police press further
for more answers
and uncover a startling truth.

SGT. BALLOU: We applied for
a search warrant to Sprint
which was the carrier
for David's cell phone
at the time Nikki went missing.

ARNAUD: They had graphed
out where he had gone
and it was clear at that point
that David had gone
up to Larch Mountain
the same day that
Nikki went missing,
which was not part of
his original statement.

told investigators
he went right to work.
But his phone took a trip
to where Nikki Kuhnhausen's
body was found.
Investigators bring him in for questioning
and confront him with cold, hard data.

[tape whirring]

[tape whirring]

NARRATOR: Even though
David is cornered,
Nikki's loved ones and
everyone following the case
have an uneasy feeling.

BLAIR: I think there was
an understandable worry
that Nikki's killer
might try to use
the LGBTQ+ panic
defense in court.

ARNAUD: The trans panic
defense is a way of saying,
I was in a mental state that
I can't be held accountable
because I was in
such a blind rage
by finding out that someone who I was
in a sexual encounter with was trans,
and that's so counter to
my morals and existence,
that I flew into this rage
and you can't hold
me accountable.
NARRATOR: Using this defense
means that there's a possibility
that David could
get off scot-free,
just because she's transgender.
- I couldn't even believe
there was such a law
that differentiated
between my child and your child.
My child's life was worth less
because she was transgender?

NARRATOR: So what is
David's defense gonna be?

With Nikki's friends
and family watching,
David drops a bombshell
that no one sees coming.
- I was shocked to
hear what he said.

NARRATOR: The life
of a 17-year-old girl
was taken far too soon.
Over two years later, with the
eyes of the world watching,
David Bogdanov finally
faces justice in court.
But his story takes a wild turn.

- Our client did not strangle
Nikki Kuhnhausen causing her death
because she's transgender,
Nikki Kuhnhausen is now deceased
because Mr. Bogdanov
had to defend himself
against her attacking him
and possibly killing him.

- A self-defense argument came at
trial and not prior at any point.
He had never mentioned it.

TAYLOR: I was shocked
to hear him sit there
and act like, you know, it
was him that was scared.
see how big he is
and Nikki looks like
she weighed 90 pounds.
I mean, she was tough, but I
don't think anybody thought
that he was really needing to
defend himself against her.
It just doesn't seem
like a possible story.
- When he chose to
claim self-defense,
he eliminated what was going to be one
of the biggest hurdles in our case,
proving that he was the
person who did this.
COLIN HAYES: So that took some
of the burden off of the state,
if he's admitting
that he did it,
it's more just, okay,
what were the reasons
surrounding why you claim
you were justified in doing it?

NARRATOR: And then, something
else happens at trial
that no one expects,
not by a long shot.

- Your Honor, the defense
calls David Bogdanov.

[clock ticking]

Raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear
to affirm the testimony
you're about to give in these
proceedings is the truth?
NARRATOR: With his
hand on a Bible,
David Bogdanov is
going to speak.
Will it be the truth?

LAWYER: June 5th, 2019,
it turned into the early
morning of June 6th, 2019,
did you happen to meet a female
walking down Main Street?

David E. Gregerson,
and I was the judge on the case
of State versus David Bogdanov.
It's always risky to put
the defendant on the stand
and it was a gamble as to
whether the jury would believe
that version of events.

- He said that he picked Nikki
up from a friend's house.
HAYES: Mr. Bogdanov
said that they became
physically involved
sexually in the back seat.
That Nikki performed
oral sex on him.

- As part of this hookup,
he reaches into her pants
and he realized
that Nikki is trans.

LAWYER: Okay, then
what does she do?
At that time

ARNAUD: Colin Hayes
is my co-chair,
and we both were
a little surprised
that a gun had been mentioned,
because we had no indication that
a gun had ever been involved.
And that's a completely
different version of events
than anything that had
ever been presented before.
- He claims she then
began attacking him
and that he was
trying to restrain her
and he saw this cell phone cord,
that according to him was pre-tied,
and then he thought that was a good way
to try to continue restraining Nikki
and that it slipped
up to her neck
and that is somehow how
he claims her life ended.

hard story to hear,
especially for a mother
that lost a child.
- I had no idea that the
world was as ugly as it is.
I had no idea that she
would run into such

A horrible evil in this town.

I just didn't want his hands to
be the last ones that touched her.
I wanted it to be
loving hands
and love.
Not hate.

NARRATOR: Self-defense
or a brutal crime?
No one else was there to
verify what the real story was.
But sometimes, actions
speak louder than words.
HAYES: He did not
try to resuscitate
or call aid for Nikki.
Mr. Bogdanov didn't
have great explanations
for the steps or lack of
steps thereafter that he took
after strangling
someone into submission.
NARRATOR: And there was
yet another shocking detail
that comes out in
David's testimony
that doesn't seem to fit
with his self-defense story.

- He said that he was in
the white van initially
and they had switched
into a gold Audi.
- He talked about having,
you know, this Audi vehicle
that the encounter
with Nikki happened in.
I think that was a
surprise to everyone.
LAWYER: Where's your Audi now?
LAWYER: So you called somebody
to make your vehicle disappear?
LAWYER: And that was not
a cheap vehicle, was it?
- If the encounter, as he said,
happened in the Audi and not the van,
he definitely destroyed
that evidence.

ARNAUD: He killed Nikki,
that is without question.
The only reasonable explanation
from the evidence here is that
he killed her intentionally.
But this is an act of rage,
not an act of self-defense.
This was murder.

HAYES: The murder weapon
being the phone cord
with Nikki's wig
hair tied into it
in a manner that
was not consistent
with any type of struggle
the way he described it,
so it showed a very deliberate,
in our mind, a very
deliberate killing of Nikki.
- He murdered this person
because they were trans.
You know, there's no
other way around it.
And he now needs to
go away for murder.
NARRATOR: Nikki was
killed on June 6th, 2019.
On August 27th, 2021,
two years, two months
and nineteen days later,
it's time for
David to be judged.

TAYLOR: We all came
back into the courtroom
for the verdicts,
and everybody that was there
for Nikki held hands in a line
and we all just sat
there and prayed.

NARRATOR: No one is sure if
his story will be believed.

And it isn't.
- David Bogdanov was found guilty
of murder in the second degree
and malicious harassment.
When everything's been said ♪
And we're lying here in bed ♪
- When it said guilty,
I was just in shock.
Oh, you seem so sure ♪
We were blessed on
getting a guilty.
It was amazing.
'Cause I'm fallin' ♪
BLAIR: I felt a lot of
relief and happiness
recognizing Nikki as a
valued community member.

And I felt glad that at least in
the kind of messed-up system we have
there was some justice served.
But I have to go now ♪
- I was thankful that
he was found guilty.
Be with me ♪
Then once sentencing
came around,
I started getting mad about it.
I was very, very disappointed
in the justice system.
ARNAUD: The judge sentenced
him to 19 and a half years.
That is the maximum that we
could've gotten on this case,
but it doesn't feel
appropriate to the crime.
(no audio)
A life was lost, especially in
this case, a very young life.
It's always difficult,
because it's so hard
to look at a family
member and say,
"We got 19 and a half years."

TAYLOR: To me, it wasn't fair,
but I am glad he got
the full sentence.

NARRATOR: This is David
Bogdanov's first offense,
so he gets 19 and a half years.
With good behavior,
maybe he's out in 17.
That's how old Nikki
was when he killed her.

LISA: She was so
beautiful and bright.
And he wasn't sorry,
not one little bit.
Not one little bit.
He was sorry he got caught.
NARRATOR: Nikki Kuhnhausen
was a light, a beacon.
Her social media inspired
transgender teens
to find courage.
She inspired a community to
spread love in spite of hate.
She inspired and
changed history.
Her family and advocates
helped create a new law,
the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act,
which eliminates the gay
and trans panic defense
in the state of Washington,
protecting countless
LGBTQ+ lives.
NARRATOR: Nikki lives on
and her story will now
forever help others.
A small piece of comfort for
her family and loved ones.
- [voice breaking] Everybody loves
her, you know, she was very loved,
still very loved.
From smoke and ashes we rise ♪
media was how Nikki
showed her true
self to the world.

And in the end
social media was how
Nikki caught her killer.

I don't know where
my head is lately ♪
Have I lost my mind? ♪

But I know that
I have a secret ♪
And it's only mine ♪

And the only way to find me ♪
Is to go beneath the lies ♪

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