An alleged member of the Latin Kings gang, 23-year-old Angel Dejesus Arias, was arrested and charged in North Carolina this week, the Guardian reports, in the killing of Elisha Walker, a 20-year-old transgender woman who’d been missing for nearly a year,
Walker was reported missing in November 2014, after her family had not heard from her since 24 October, the Salisbury Post reported. Police gave local media information about Walker’s disappearance in an effort to generate leads, but few were forthcoming until Walker’s burnt-out 2000 Pontiac Sunfire was discovered in an open field in Sampson County, police said in a release.
Arias had lived in a house in Salisbury that Walker was known to frequent, before moving to Johnston County, more than 100 miles away, where he was arrested on unrelated drug charges. Rowan County police obtained a search warrant for a Johnston County house, they said. They discovered Walker’s body in a “small depression” behind it.
Elsewhere this week, police in Texas announced an investigation into the death of Shade Schuler, a 22-year-old transgender woman whose body was found decomposing in a field in Dallas. In Detroit, police are investigating the death of Amber Monroe, who was shot and killed in Palmer Park—the fifth transgender woman to be killed there since 2014. On Tuesday, 35-year-old transgender woman Kandis Capri was shot and killed in Phoenix.
“Even as we are seeing an increase in transgender visibility through a range of inspiring national media stories, including Caitlyn Jenner’s,” transgender Human Rights Campaign staff member Laya Monarez said in a statement, “the levels of violence and harassment transgender people face – particularly transgender women and transgender women of color – constitute a national crisis.”
Walker’s alleged killer, Arias, will not face hate crimes charges, as North Carolina does not have a hate crimes statute.