Missing Young Democrats of Maryland President Joseph Kitchen Found Dead in Washington, DC

The body of Joseph Kitchen was found Sunday night.
The body of Joseph Kitchen was found Sunday afternoon. Handout

Police in the nation's capital are now investigating the death of Joseph Kitchen, the well-respected leader of Young Democrats of Maryland after his body was discovered Sunday afternoon, more than a week after he was reported missing.

The 34-year-old was discovered unresponsive in an apartment in the District of Columbia's northwest section, according to statement given to Inside Edition Digital on Monday by the Metropolitan Police Department.

No further information would be released, said spokeswoman Alaina Gertz. 

He was last seen Aug. 8 at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

"In everything Joseph did, he advocated for young people. He never had to be in the front, but was always toiling in the background, thinking about what more we could do to give the next generation a real voice at the table," Maryland Delegate Jazz Lewis, a Democrat from Prince George's County.

Lawrence Ramirez, Kitchen's brother, wrote online “Joseph was a big advocate for youth of color and that were in environments they could not control,” Ramirez said. “He worked his life fighting for a change when it came to youth in under-served areas. We want people to remember him for that.”

Kitchen also was the director of outreach and volunteer services for the Washington School for Girls.

Worried relatives and friends said the young man was last heard from during an Aug. 11 Zoom call. 

They posted several online pleas for help after not being able to reach him, and hearing nothing after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made history last week by choosing Kamala Harris, a Black senator from California, as his running mate.

Kitchen had noted last month on social media that his busy schedule was getting the better of him.

On July 22, he wrote about "A Moment of Transparency," in which he openly discussed his struggles.

"For the past few days (possibly even weeks) I have been struggling. Mostly in silence. Surviving with a jam-packed schedule of meetings, phone calls, and even some Facebook live events. Last week I realized, I am not okay."

Yet, he continued to be active in social justice and election issues in the prelude to November's presidential election.

“In my experience, he’s been YDM. He’s been the voice of YDM,” said Bobby Audley, communications director for the Young Democrats of Maryland. “Even in my role as communications director, it really has been leaning on Joseph to say, ‘What are our priorities? What are we focusing on?'”

A cause of death has not been released. His family has asked for privacy during their time of grief.

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