Suspect arrested in death of California transgender activist
A 38-year-old man has been arrested in the murder of a transgender and immigrant rights activist who was found slain behind a Southern California fast food restaurant in June, police said on Wednesday.
Randy Lee Parkerson was taken into custody on Tuesday in his vehicle in the city of Anaheim, not far from where the body of 29-year-old Zoraida Reyes was discovered on the morning of June 12, Lt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department said in a written statement.
Parkerson was booked into a detention facility in Anaheim on suspicion of murder and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, Dunn said.
Police released few other details of Parkerson’s arrest but said that, despite concerns among activists, the investigation had not uncovered any evidence that Reyes had been targeted because of her transgender status and detectives were not investigating the case as a hate crime.
She had been active in several transgender and immigrant rights groups in Orange County before her death.
An autopsy at the time was inconclusive and police have not said how Reyes was killed.
“For many the lives of transgender people don’t matter and they’re viewed as disposable,” Jorge Gutierrez, a friend of the victim, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview.
“We know that her identity as a trans woman was a huge factor, whether the police want to acknowledge it or not.”
Gutierrez told the Times that Reyes had been born in Michoacan, Mexico, and had attended high school in Southern California before earning her associate degree from Santa Ana College.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)