Friends and family are reeling after the deaths of two prominent members of Orlando’s LGBT community who reportedly committed suicide within a day of each other.
According to a report from the Orlando Police Department, Adam Lee Franck, 45, died at Orlando Regional Medical Center on Oct. 16 from a gunshot wound inflicted Oct. 12. Police said only limited information is available because the case is still an open investigation.
Franck’s partner is popular drag performer Sassy Devine, who performs at Parliament House. Devine said Franck was a lieutenant firefighter at Orlando International Airport. The couple owned a house together and had been together for five years.
“We met by a chance of fate, literally bumping into each other, and it was completely love at first sight,” Devine said. “Our situation is different because I live as a woman I’m transsexual, so it’s not like a gay couple. You could call us domestic partners, but I always called him my husband.”
She said members of the Orlando Police Department notified her of Franck’s injury, which would prove to be fatal, and there were no qualms about their rights as a couple.
“I was handled with utmost respect, completely professional and with sensitivity,” she said. “The guys did a great job, an amazing job, and they were sensitive to the situation.”
Devine said she’s in close contact with Franck’s immediate family and has also derived support and comfort from the local LGBT community. There was a memorial held in Franck’s honor on Oct. 28 at Parliament House.
“I really want people to remember that he was courageous and fearless and never knew a stranger,” Devine said. “He was one of the most warm hearted, welcoming people I’ve ever met.”
One week before Franck’s death, on Oct. 11, Patrick Murphy, 30, died in his home. Friends close to Murphy say it was suicide, but because his death is still part of an open case, no official cause of death has been released.
According to an obituary placed in the Chicago Tribune, Murphy was an architect at Cuhaci & Peterson.
Clay Cozart said he was still in shock over Murphy’s death. He has been friends with Murphy for four years, ever since Murphy moved into a neighboring apartment.
“Obviously, [Murphy’s death] was a shock to everyone,” he said. “We’re saddened that our friend left us, still processing, still accepting it.”
Murphy moved to Orlando from Chicago and Cozart said he and several others traveled to Chicago to attend Murphy’s funeral.
“We considered Patrick part of our family in Florida. His family totally accepted us when we went to Chicago,” Cozart said. “As sad as it was, it brought people together and expanded our family a little bit.”
Cozart said Murphy will be remembered as a fun, caring guy and as a good friend.
“When someone’s with you, talking to you one day and the next day they’re not, it’s hard to deal with,” he said. “He’s heavy on my mind.”