The death of an LGBTQ advocate and brother of a former Miami mayor is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said, after his body was discovered in a Florida landfill.
Jorge Diaz-Johnston, a plaintiff in a historic same-sex marriage lawsuit against Miami-Dade County in 2014, was found dead at a Jackson County landfill on January 8, the Tallahassee Police Department said.
The body had been in trash collected from an Okaloosa County landfill that morning and transported to Jackson County by a garbage transportation company, according to a statement released by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
The 54-year-old was last seen January 3 in Tallahassee, police said.
Diaz-Johnston and his husband Don Johnston were one of six couples who filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County in 2014 challenging Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. A Miami-Dade circuit judge ruled in the couples’ favor in 2015.
“There are just no words for the loss of my beloved husband Jorge Isaias Diaz-Johnston,” Johnston wrote on social media Wednesday. “He touched so many people with his kind and generous heart.”
Manny Diaz, chair of the Florida Democratic Party and the mayor of Miami from 2001-2009, released a statement thanking police and city officials who worked to locate his brother and investigate the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.
“I am profoundly appreciative of the outpouring of support shown to me, my brother-in-law Don, and my family after the loss of my brother, Jorge Diaz-Johnston. My brother was such a special gift to this world whose heart and legacy will continue to live on for generations to come,” the statement said.
The investigation into Diaz-Johnston’s death is ongoing, the Tallahassee Police Department said. Investigators asked for those with any information to contact detectives.