A woman in Houston has become the 26th known transgender homicide victim of 2017.
Brandi Seals, 26, was found dead about 6 a.m. Wednesday at the site of a home under construction in the Sunnyside neighborhood in southeast Houston, according to TransGriot. A report from Houston’s Fox affiliate said Seals had been shot to death. The report also misgendered her and used her former name.
Seals’s aunt, Maria Cheeks, described her to the TV station as “a loving person” and “a beautiful person.”
“Whoever took [her] life, they have to answer,” Cheeks added. “Maybe the police might not can get you, but you will have to answer to one person. And that’s the higher power of God. You will have to answer to him.”
Police have no suspects but ask anyone with leads to call Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-8477. A homicide detective told the TV station that her killer may have been motivated by discovery of her transgender identity, although the detective did so in an awkward and offensive fashion, saying the killer may have found that Seals was misrepresenting herself and took “ultimate action.”
Two vigils are being organized, TransGriot reports. One will be held tonight at 7 at the site of her death and another at City Hall at 5 p.m. Friday.
There were 27 transgender homicide victims reported in 2016, so far the deadliest year on record. This year's total may well match or exceed that.