Bee Love Slater, a black, transgender 23-year-old from South Florida was found burned to death on September 4. In the early morning hours, Hendry County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene to see flames overtaking a PT Cruiser parked in the grass in a rural Florida neighborhood in Harlem.
Slater transitioned as recently as this year. She was saving money to move to Atlanta, friends told The Washington Post, because she thought people there would be more accept of her transition.
“She always had a smile on her face,” her friend Desmond Vereen, who called himself her “gay mother,” told the Miami Herald. “She always gave hugs and kisses, always told you that she loved you.”
Slater’s body was burned so badly, she couldn’t be identified for days. But she has since been identified and her death has been marked a homicide. But there are no leads and so far, the sheriff’s office won’t name it a hate crime, according to The Washington Post.
“We can’t say it’s a hate crime yet because we don’t know what the motive was,” Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Susan Harrelle told ABC 7.
But LGBTQ advocates and allies say that Slater’s death is another in a long string of murders of transgender women in the U.S. that have gone unsolved that are definitely hate crimes. Florida has seen a large part of the spiking across the United States of transgender murders.
“Our society needs to work to ensure transpeople can live without fear,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said in a statement about Slater’s death.
Before Slater’s death but after her transition, she had received threatening Facebook messages that scared her.
She reportedly texted a friend that she wanted to leave town the night she died.