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Missing Washington transgender woman found dead in Mexico

Reyna Hernandez transgender woman found dead mexicali desert roads
Renton Police Department; Shutterstock

Reyna Hernandez’s body showed signs of torture before she was killed and dumped in a border town cemetery.

A body found dumped in a Mexican border town cemetery and showing signs of torture was confirmed to be that of a Washington state transgender woman who disappeared late last month.

Reyna Hernandez, 54, of Renton, Wash., went missing February 26 after she ran an errand to her former residence, now occupied by three men, including a 61-year-old who is the prime suspect in the case, which police are investigating as a homicide. The man, who is currently under arrest in Mexico on unrelated charges, is reportedly Hernandez’s partner of 30 years. His name has not been released.

On March 8, police in Renton were alerted to a local Mexican newspaper article referencing the body of a woman dumped in a cemetery in Mexicali on the U.S. border. The body was wrapped in a blanket, bound hand and foot, and reportedly showed signs of gruesome torture, according to Seattle TV station KCPQ.

With help from investigators in Washington, authorities in Mexico were able to confirm the body was that of Hernandez.

“This is the worst possible outcome, and our hearts go out to Reyna’s family and friends,” Chandler Swain, investigation commander for the Renton Police Department, said in a statement posted to social media. “We are working closely with Mexicali police and our U.S. Federal partners to determine when and where Reyna was killed.”

Police had suspected Hernandez was a victim of foul play immediately after they were notified of her disappearance by friends on February 28. Her popular hair salon had not been opened in two days and she had not responded to texts and calls from friends and family, both of which were out of character for the outgoing and vivacious Hernandez.

A friend told investigators she spoke to Hernandez between 10 and 10:30 a.m. on February 26. Hernandez told the friend she was running an errand to her former residence in south Renton. She was never heard from again.

Police were able to obtain a search warrant for the home. They were able to speak with two of the current residents, who are reportedly cooperating with authorities. The prime suspect in the case was not at the residence and became a key focus of the police investigation.

Her sister, Sara Carillo, told KCPQ that Hernandez had been in a relationship for 30 years and was a victim of domestic violence. She said friends from the salon told her that Hernandez had a black eye before she went missing.

Police are still investigating whether Hernandez was killed in the U.S. or Mexico to determine jurisdiction.

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