TDoR 1992 / 1992 / June / 01 / Rene "Michelle" Ouellet

Rene "Michelle" Ouellet

Age 30

1 Jun 1992
Cape May, New Jersey (USA)

TDoR list ref: Jun 1992/Rene

Rene "Michelle" Ouellet
Rene "Michelle" Ouellet [photo:]

Michelle was beaten and strangled to death by Brian Halter.

Rene Ouellet was a Canadian [trans woman] who disappeared in June of 1992, almost immediately after [she] had begun working as a female impersonator at a bar called the Fun Spot in West Wildwood. I had been living on the island for a month when this occurred, and I remembered it because Ouellet’s apartment had been located on the same Davis Avenue block where I spent my free time. “MISSING” several street-pole flyers read, followed by Ouellet’s full name and stage name (“Michelle”).

Thirteen days after Ouellet’s disappearance, an old man sweeping the beach with a metal detector discovered the Montreal native’s body. It had been hidden inside an alcove beneath the Montgomery Avenue bandshell. Ouellet had suffered a beating; blunt-force trauma to the head, forearms and torso. Ouellet’s lungs were overrun with sand, rendering the official cause of death to be asphyxiation. Rumor had it the old man’s metal detector had zeroed in on Ouellet’s wristwatch, thereby minimizing any chance that this had been a robbery turned ugly.

Ouellet had last been seen wandering east toward the beach with an unidentified male at 2:30 in the morning. Collective evidence suggested that it was this male who had fatally assaulted Ouellet, before returning to camouflage the body a short time later.

In August of 1997 Brian Halter pleaded guilty, effectively downgrading an original charge of first-degree murder into aggravated manslaughter. Three months later, on November 3rd, the 25-year-old was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He would be eligible for parole in a year and a half.

Report added: 17 Feb 2019. Last updated: 3 Apr 2024

Trigger warning

This site contains reports of violence against transgender people, and links to detailed reports which contain graphic imagery.

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