Stella Maxwell
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Suspect Arrested in Murder of Calif. Trans Activist

Suspect Arrested in Murder of Calif. Trans Activist

Police have made an arrest in connection with the June death of 28-year-old transgender activist Zoraida "Ale" Reyes in Anaheim, Calif.

Police arrested 38-year-old Randy Lee Parkerson of Anaheim four months after Reyes's body was found behind an Anaheim Dairy Queen. Despite initial reports alluding to suspicious circumstances surrounding Reyes's death — including an inconclusive autopsy — investigators have not yet been able to determine a motive for the crime, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"There is nothing to suggest that Zoraida was specifically targeted," Lt. Bob Dunn, a spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department, told the Times. "The motive is still unclear."  

Parkerson was booked into an Anaheim detention facility on suspicion of murder and is being held on a $1 million bail, according to the Times.

Although police are not currently pursuing hate-crime charges, friends and family suspect that Reyes, a prominent member of several transgender and immigrant rights groups, was targeted because of her transgender identity.

"For many the lives of transgender people don't matter and they're viewed as disposable," Jorge Gutierrez, a friend of Reyes, told the Times. "We know that her identity as a trans woman was a huge factor, whether the police want to acknowledge it or not."  

Reyes, described by friends as "shy and quiet but very warm," regularly participated in demonstrations pressing for immigrant rights, most recently at a May 27 protest against Santa Ana, Calif.'s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Originally from Michoacan, Mexico, the Santa Ana College graduate was living with family in Orange County, Calif., when she was killed.

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