Missing Trans Latina Reyna Hernandez Found Dead in Mexico

Trans Latina Reyna Hernandez from Washington went missing in February and her body was recently recovered in Mexico

Trans Latina Reyna Hernandez

Photos: Renton Police Department/Pixabay-WikiImages

It can be difficult being openly trans or nonbinary but it’s even harder when you’re also a person of color. According to a 2011 study, Latinx trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people face the highest level of discrimination compared to other racial and ethnic groups, and that hasn’t changed in over a decade. This past year alone, three transgender people were killed in Mexico within the first two weeks of January, two of whom were prominent activists, and last November marked the alleged murder of the country’s first nonbinary judge Jesús Ociel Baena Saucedo. Most recently, the Renton Police Department in Washington confirmed on their Facebook page that Reyna Hernandez, a 54-year-old Latina trans woman and salon owner from Renton, was found dead in a cemetery in northern Mexico on March 8 after she was reported missing on February 26. According to authorities, she had been allegedly tortured and murdered as she had a gunshot wound, her hands and feet were bound, and her body was covered by a blanket. Police currently have a suspect from Renton in custody, who Hernandez’s family claims is her partner of thirty years and was arrested in Mexico on unrelated charges, ABC News reported.

“This is the worst possible outcome, and our hearts go out to Reyna’s family and friends,” said Investigations Commander Chandler Swain in a news release according to the Facebook post. “We are working closely with Mexicali police and our U.S. Federal partners to determine when and where Reyna was killed.”

Before her alleged murder, Hernandez was described as “outgoing and vivacious” by friends and family, according to the Advocate. Though she’d reportedly been in a relationship with her 61-year-old partner for decades, her sister, Sara Carillo, told news station KCPQ that clients shared that she’d shown up to work black eye ahead of her disappearance. Carillo described her as a dreamer, a hardworking and emphatic person with a lot of love to give.

Hernandez went missing on February 26 after she told a friend she was running an errand at her residence. But by February 28, she still hadn’t opened her salon, gone to work, or responded to texts and calls, and no one could find her car. She was found days later after Renton police found an article from a local Mexican newspaper reporting the discovery of an unidentified woman’s body in a cemetery in Mexicali close to the U.S.-Mexico border. Currently, authorities are investing her death as a domestic violence case and are hoping to convict the suspect on kidnapping charges. They are also trying to determine if the murder took place in the U.S. or Mexico.

“Reyna’s brutal murder sheds light on the pervasive danger faced by trans individuals, particularly trans women of color. These incidents underscore the urgent need to address how institutional violence translates into interpersonal violence against our community,” the TransLatin@ Coalition, an advocacy organization for the Latinx immigrant trans community, said in a statement about the case.

The investigation is currently ongoing.

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domestic violence gender-based violence Mexico news trans community Trans Latina violence against latinas
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