Jorge Diaz-Johnston, a Florida man and gay rights advocate, was found dead in a landfill on Saturday.
Local news outlets, including the Miami Herald, have reported that Diaz-Johnston was last seen on January 3 in the Tallahassee neighborhood where he lived with his husband, Don Johnston. His body was recovered from a Jackson County landfill this past Saturday.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Diaz-Johnston’s body was identified on Wednesday. While his death has been ruled a homicide, authorities have not released information regarding cause of death.
Diaz-Johnston and his now husband, Don, were one of six couples who were part of a 2014 lawsuit that challenged Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. A judge ruled in their favor, declaring the ban unconstitutional, and the ban was lifted in the state in January 2015, before same-sex marriage was legalized throughout the United States.
Diaz-Johnston was also the brother of former Miami mayor and current Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz. In a statement posted on Facebook, Diaz said that he was “profoundly appreciative of the outpouring of support shown to me, my brother-in-law Don, and my family after the loss of my brother,” adding, “My brother was such a special gift to this world whose heart and legacy will continue to live on for generations to come.”
In a statement published by the Herald, Orlando Gonzalez, the executive director of the LGBTQ+ rights group SAVE Foundation and friend of Diaz-Johnston, called his death a “tremendous loss” to the community. “There’s no way to, I think, make up for somebody who was on the front line in fighting for human equality.”