Portland Station Launches True Crime Podcast About Murder of Transgender Teen

By Kevin Eck 

Portland, Ore., NBC affiliate KGW and Tegna’s in-house digital content studio Vault Studios, is launching a true crime podcast called Should Be Alive.

The six-part series is hosted by KGW anchor Ashley Korslien and follows the story of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a transgender teenager from Vancouver, Wash., who was murdered in 2019 by a man she had just met hours earlier. Her remains were discovered six months after her disappearance. During the trial, prosecutors argued Kuhnhausen’s killer grew enraged after discovering Kuhnhausen was transgender, leading him to strangle her and dump her body along a Forest Service road.

“Nikki deserved to live a long and fulfilling life, but that opportunity was taken away from her because of a senseless act of violence,” said Korslien. “By telling this story, we hope to give a voice to Nikki’s family and bring attention to a growing trend of violence against the transgender community.”


“KGW has a long tradition of impactful investigative journalism that uncovers the truth and leads to positive change in the Pacific Northwest,” said KGW news director Greg Retsinas. “With ‘Should Be Alive,’ we are bringing that same investigative mentality, by stepping through the whole story of what happened to Nikki Kuhnhausen and how her murder inspired a Washington law passed in her name.”

Nikki’s murder led to the passage of Nikki’s Law, which outlaws the use of the panic defense in Washington state. The LGBTQ+ panic defense is a legal strategy that asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction, including murder. The LGBTQ+ panic defense has been banned in 17 states and has been introduced, but not passed, in 12 others.

Should Be Alive is produced, written and hosted by Ashley Korslien, co-produced and edited by Zachary Carver and executive produced by John Tierney. The debut episode of the six-part series will be released on Wednesday, May 25 with new episodes available weekly on all major podcast platforms.