The days following the death of Sativa Transue have been a blur for her younger sister.
Authorities have told Mykayla Bolieu that Transue, described as a vibrant person with a contagiously bright personality, was killed while on vacation in Cancun.
After graduating from Eastern Washington University with a degree in exercise science, Transue moved to Milton, Washington, east of Tacoma. That’s where she was living at the time she left for Cancun with her boyfriend. She had plans to become a massage therapist.
Transue was active as a kid growing up in Cheney, Bolieu said.
Her athleticism saw her excel in basketball, softball and volleyball, and she was an avid hiker, boater and snowboarder. Even as a kid, Transue would spend most of her time outside, “adventuring,” Bolieu said.
“She was a very go-go-go person,” Bolieu said.
Everyone who knew her described her kindness and bubbly disposition, Bolieu said.
Bri McMillen, Transue’s friend and colleague, said she became instant friends with Transue upon her move to Milton.
“People talk about someone being sunshine and rainbows, and that was exactly how she was. There was never a bad bone anywhere in her body,” McMillen said.
Transue adored her dog Shadow and cat Flower.
No matter what they did together, McMillen said, Transue could make any activity more fun.
“Her laugh was so contagious,” Bolieu said. “Her laugh was the kind that could make you laugh, because it was funnier than what you were laughing at.
“I don’t want her to be remembered for her last moments or her relationship. I want her to be remembered because she was a good, loving person.”
Around 8 a.m. Saturday, Bolieu noticed she was getting calls from Transue’s friends asking if she had heard from the young woman.
“I didn’t really think anything of it,” Bolieu said.
Then the U.S. consulate in Mexico called Transue’s immediate family and told them she had been found dead in the fourth-floor hotel room she shared with her partner, who was named a suspect and identified by Cancun police only as Taylor “N,” according to Mexican news outlets and the Cancun police Facebook page.
Cancun police said in its statement they suspected Transue’s death was a “femicide,” defined as the intentional killing of a woman because of her sex.
But there wasn’t much else to go on, Bolieu said.
“Nobody would tell us anything. It took two days to find out anything else,” Bolieu said.
According to Mexican news outlet Noticaribe, police units with the Benito Juárez municipality in Quintana Roo responded to calls of domestic disturbances at the hotel where Transue was checked in. A few hours later, Transue’s partner called police to report Transue was not breathing, according to the report.
Transue’s family sent someone to Cancun to serve as a spokesperson and to get more information.
This spokesperson, who Bolieu asked to keep anonymous for safety purposes, told Bolieu she identified and viewed Transue’s body. They described several injuries consistent with “being beaten to death,” Bolieu said. Authorities have not confirmed Transue’s manner of death.
Transue started dating the suspect several months ago, Bolieu said. The relationship seemingly soured, she said, when Transue said he became violent.
Bolieu visited her sister in Milton recently and noticed her apartment walls had holes in them and several items appeared to be broken.
Days before they left for Cancun, Bolieu said, Transue said she wanted to end her relationship with her boyfriend once they returned from Mexico.
After her death, Bolieu’s family traveled to her apartment and took Transue’s belongings back to their family home in Cheney.
“I can’t sleep at night,” Bolieu said. “I’ve slept maybe three hours since we found out. I can’t close my eyes.
“I thought cleaning out her apartment would give me closure, but it really didn’t. I think my parents don’t want me to see her (body), but I would like to see her, just to get that closure.”
Bolieu said she hoped Transue’s situation would encourage anyone involved in a violent relationship to leave and seek resources.
“Please get out before anything happens,” Bolieu said.