Jose I. Escobar Menendez

Jose I. Escobar Menendez

A woman who describes herself as a friend of the late Jose I. Escobar Menendez says the Winchester man's death earlier this week may have been the result of a hate crime.

The dead body of Menendez, whom friends say was gay, was found in the roadway near Emerald Point Terrace and Winding Road in Sterling around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. A passerby saw the body and reported it to the Loudoun County Sheriff's office, according to authorities.

No arrests have been made in the case. An LCSO spokesman says the investigation is “very active” and they're exploring all possibilities, but the office is not disclosing a cause of death.

The friend – who is raising awareness about Menendez's death on Twitter through her account, @lesliecobenas – would also not say how Menendez died, but she said his body was in “very bad shape.”

The friend spoke briefly with the Times-Mirror about Menendez Friday afternoon.

“We know it was a homicide, but no one has any idea what his whereabouts were that night or with whom,” she tweeted. “He was murdered & we believe it was due to his sexuality … We think he met up with someone off of a dating app … ”

“He was an amazing friend,” she told the Times-Mirror. “ He was so sweet – always happy and cheerful … He was always that person to hype you up. He just wanted everyone to have a good time.”

A GoFundMe page established for Menendez's funeral costs had raised more than $10,000 as of Friday afternoon.