San Diego homicide detectives are looking for a woman who they say illegally injected five transgender people with silicone during a party that left two struggling to survive.
The "silicone party" occurred Sunday evening at a home in University Heights, where a Los Angeles woman allegedly injected five transgender customers with silicone, San Diego Police Department officials said.
The five customers voluntarily took the injections in hopes of augmenting their lips, cheeks, hips and buttocks, police department Lt. Kevin Rooney said.
Several hours later, two of them fell ill and began experiencing breathing problems, he said. Medics took them to a hospital, where they were admitted in critical condition. Both the patients are still on life support equipment, he said.
"It is not known if the victims will survive," Rooney said.
Investigators have identified the suspect, who is not a licensed medical practitioner, but she remains missing and police were not ready to release her name, he said.
If either of the two alleged victims dies, the woman suspected of administering the injections could face murder charges, Rooney said.
Detectives say this type of case is rare, but not unheard of. In Houston in 2003, a transgender man died after getting an injection of a type of silicone used in brake fluid. Across the country, the practice leads to several deaths every year.
The illegal injections that are usually done at homes or apartments often involve a silicone sealant such as the kind found in hardware stores that is injected directly into the body in the area to be enlarged, instead of using medical silicone sealed in an implant, as a licensed plastic surgeon would use.
"If you're transgender, your main goal is to look as much like a girl, and a passable woman -- you have to have implants, full lips, long hair," Cashmere, a transgender performer, told ABC News affiliate KGTV-YV in San Diego.
Medical experts said the two victims likely suffered infections and then respiratory shock.
The other three who were injected suffered no physical problems, police said.
ABC News affiliate KGTV-TV in San Diego contributed to this report.