The body of Chynal Lindsey, a 26-year-old black transgender woman, was found in Dallas last Saturday bearing “obvious signs of homicidal violence,” police said. This is the second time in less than a month that a black trans woman has been murdered in the city, and at least the fourth killing of a black trans woman over the past three years.
Lindsey was a home health-care worker who had moved to Texas from Chicago in recent years, according to Buzzfeed News. Her body was discovered in a lake, The Guardian reports. Dallas police chief Reneé Hall did not reveal the cause of death during a press conference, but she did say that police had contacted the FBI to ask for assistance.
“We are concerned, we are actively and aggressively investigating this case, and we have reached out to our federal partners to assist us in the efforts,” Hall said.
The homicide comes just weeks after 23-year-old Muhlaysia Booker was shot and killed on a Dallas street. A month before her murder, Booker had been attacked in what the city’s mayor described as an incident of “mob violence.” Shocking footage of the attack showed people gathering around Booker, punching and kicking her, until a group of women helped her escape. Edward Thomas, 29, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in connection with the incident. Police have said there is no evidence linking him to Booker’s murder.
In October of last year, Brittany White was fatally shot in southeast Dallas. In 2015, the body of a black transgender woman named Shade Schuler was found in a Dallas field. Police have also remarked on a 2017 case, where the remains of a transgender woman were once again discovered in a field, although the cause of death in that incident has not been determined.
When asked if the deaths could be attributed to a serial killer, Hall said police don’t currently “have the evidence to substantiate that.” But authorities noted in a statement last month that two of the victims “were in the area of Spring Avenue and Lagow Street prior to the offenses occurring,” and that “two of the victims got into a vehicle with someone.” The statement stressed, however, that “detectives have not established a direct link between these cases.”
Transgender woman are disproportionately affected by violence, and in Texas, violent acts linked to gender identity are not covered by hate crime laws. In spite of Hall’s assurances that police are working “to provide safety for each and every person in the community,” Nell Gaither, the president of Dallas’s Trans Pride Initiative, told BuzzFeed News that trans people in the city do not feel safe.
“Even if you weren’t feeling it before, this seems like a tipping point,” Gaither said. “People are looking at it as, we’re not safe here anymore.”