Andrew Elijah MartinezAge 19
4 Sep 2019
Pomona, California (USA)
Andrew died by suicide while in the care of the transitional parenting system of LA County.
On Sept. 4, a 19-year-old foster youth stepped in front of a freight train in Pomona and was killed. The only mention of the fatality was a brief article published by OnScene.TV, which noted that an unknown pedestrian had been struck by a Union Pacific train at around 9:50 p.m.
Despite the lack of media attention, the death of the reportedly transgender young man — identified by a GoFundMe memorial as Yaeli Galdamez/Andrew Elijah Martinez — has prompted Los Angeles County leaders to conduct an immediate investigation into what they labelled as systemic issues in services for LGBTQ foster youth that could have prevented the death.
“Andrew M.’s death must be met with urgency to provide youth, including transition age youth in foster care, identified as LGBTQ+ with support and resources to live proud, productive, happy lives,” according to a motion proposed by Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl that will be introduced at the supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday.
The motion also calls for strengthening services such as more training for caregivers as well as providers across the region, and to find ways to minimize family rejection of youth who identify as LGBTQ. The need for specialized service for LGBTQ youth will also be discussed at a Monday meeting of the Los Angeles County Children’s Commission.