Her family said her phone was found at another Malibu location and her car was found in downtown Los Angeles.
DECKER CANYON, Calif. (KABC) -- The person found dead last week on a roadside in the Santa Monica Mountains north of Malibu has been identified as a 27-year-old transgender woman, and her family and friends are now desperate for answers.
The discovery of Day Rodas' body was made shortly after 7:30 a.m. Thursday near 33153 Mulholland Highway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which took the lead in the investigation.
Friends who spoke with Eyewitness News on Monday said Rodas had just recently transitioned.
"You could feel that that she was, like, really happy to finally be out of her shell and be who she really wanted to be," said Nicolette Esquivel. "It was really nice to see her flourish."
Rodas' family said her phone was found at another Malibu location and her car was found in downtown Los Angeles.
"To go from downtown L.A., drive her all the way to the middle of nowhere Malibu, that does not sound right," said Esquivel.
They said Rodas recently encountered hate and fear she was targeted because she's a transgender woman. L.A. County homicide detectives are now investigating her death.
Rodas, who played the guitar and was a part of a popular San Fernando Valley band, was proud to share the story of her transition, according to her friends.
"There's no doubt about it that she would've had, like, she would've gone on to do so many great things, especially for her community," said a tearful Esquivel. "It's just sad that she was taken from us way too soon."
Rodas' sister said detectives told her family they are questioning three people, but the investigation remains ongoing.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe has been created to help Rodas' family.
"I strongly believe she would want us to know who did this to her, the circumstances that came to this, I think that's what it's important right now," said Esquivel. "Day deserves justice."
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