Police in Fort Myers, Florida are searching for the people responsible for the murder of a transgender woman whose burned body was found behind a garbage bin last Thursday.
The body of Yaz’min Shancez was found on a dead-end behind a Budget Truck Rental location. Her father, Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals at the location, from which blood and burnt remnants had not yet been removed.
Loggins told Naple News that “we didn’t hate him for what he was. Still to this day I love him — I wish he was here right now.”
Shancez, who began identifying as a woman in 2004, was born “Eddie James Owens,” the name that appeared on her various official documents for minor arrests. But with the exception of her father, the majority of her family accepted her decision to live as a woman.
In an interview with the News-Press, her aunt said that she was “always a happy person, full of life. She didn’t deserve to go out like that.”
Fort Myers Police Lieutenant Jay Rodriguez said that they are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.
“We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.”
GLAAD spokesman Ross Murray said that he didn’t know whether it was a hate crime, but noted that “no one deserves to be violently murdered and set on fire behind a dumpster.”
He then added, “transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, face the most violence against them.”
[Image via Facebook]