Chayviss Reed, 28, of Miami has become the ninth transgender person reported murdered this year.
Reed, also known as “Chay” or “Juicy,” was shot to death early in the morning of April 21 in the West Little River neighborhood of Miami, the Miami Herald reports. She was shot while running across the street, and her attacker fled and remains at large, according to local media. Initial reports misgendered her.
Friends who met Reed at the Homestead Job Corps Center in Florida remembered her as a lively woman who loved to dance and make people laugh. “Half the time we couldn’t stop [her] from dancing,” friend Quinae’ Donnell told the Herald. “[She] was the life of the center.”
Another friend, Patina Peterson, told Mic, “She was a light, always trying to make everyone around her happy. I don’t even remember her getting into anything. I don’t remember seeing her in an altercation out there with anybody in a bad way. I’ve never seen that.”
Miami-Dade police are still seeking witnesses but say they don’t believe Reed’s murder was a hate crime. But friend Jaclan Miorke told Mic, “Just seems like nowadays being transgender is dangerous as a whole.” Police ask that anyone with information call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, (305) 471-TIPS.
This year’s nine reported homicides of trans people, all women of color, follow the deadliest year on record for trans Americans — murders of 27 were reported in 2016. The actual number for any given year is likely higher, given that some are misgendered by police or media, and some not reported to media at all.
Also, last month police in Charlottesville, Va., announced that the case of a transgender teen missing since 2012 has been reclassified as a homicide rather than a missing-person case. Sage Smith, then 19, disappeared from Charlottesville November 20 of that year. Police say this does not necessarily mean that Smith is dead — there is still no sign of her or evidence of foul play — but changing the status of the investigation puts more tools at their disposal.
“A missing person is not a criminal case, so we do not have the same investigative leeway,” Charlottesville Lt. Steve Upman told The Daily Progress, a Virginia newspaper. “By moving it to a criminal matter, it affords us not only additional resources outside the agency, but provides more opportunities to search phone records and computers, that kind of thing.” The man who was with Smith at the time, Erik Tyquan McFadden, then 25, disappeared as well and is a person of interest in the case, police said.
Lolita “Cookie” Smith, the missing woman’s grandmother, said police should not have taken so long to reclassify the case. “Frankly, I don’t understand why they waited so long,” she told The Daily Progress. “It’s been four years. I think the Charlottesville Police Department dropped the ball from day one.”