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Is a killer targeting trans women in North Carolina?

Is a killer targeting trans women in North Carolina?
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Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, have issued a “critical warning” for the transgender community following the murder of a second trans woman in a hotel room. Both women were sex workers.

While authorities aren’t certain the two slayings are connected, the murders are “consistent enough” to have “gotten our attention, and it needs to get the attention of the community.”

Related: 74 of 85 trans murder cases filed using wrong names, genders

Police are taking the possible connection seriously as they hunt for the killer. The warning contained no judgement on gender identity or sex work.

At least 14 transgender or gender-nonconforming people nationwide have been violently killed so far this year. President Joe Biden has said it is a priority for his administration to address the ongoing violence and protect trans folk.

“There’s never been a more vulnerable time for them than tonight,” police spokesperson Rob Tufano said of LGBTQ sex workers.

Jaida Peterson, who was Black and transgender, was found dead in a hotel room on Sunday, April 4. It took time for the transgender community to be aware of her passing because she was misgendered and deadnamed in local media.

Police arrived at a hotel in Charlotte that day at 1:45 p.m. and found the 29-year-old unresponsive. They called a medic who pronounced her dead at the scene.

“You are going to be truly missed and once again we love you always,” Peterson’s sister posted to social media.

“Her life should never have been cut short,” said HRC’s Tori Cooper. “We need everyone to speak up, affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter and take action now in order to end this violence. Jaida had family, friends and a community who cared about her and loved her, and our hearts go out to them.”