Chynal Lindsey was just 26 years old when her body was pulled from White Rock Lake in Dallas on Saturday, in what i believed to be the second death of a black trans woman in the city in less than a month, and the third in less than a year.
Amid mounting fear of targeted violence against trans women of color in the Dallas, police have enlisted the help of the FBI to solve Lindsey’s killing, Chief U. Reneé Hall announced at a Monday press conference.
“The Dallas Police Department has reached out to the FBI because as we know, this is the second individual who is transgender, who is deceased in our community,” Hall said, according to ABC News. “We are concerned, we are actively and aggressively investigating this case and we have reached out to our federal partners to assist us in these efforts.”
While the exact cause of Lindsey’s death hasn’t been released, Hall told reporters that her body bore “obvious signs of homicidal violence.”
Just last week, the Dallas trans community celebrated the life of another murdered woman, 23-year-old Muhlaysia Booker, who was fatally shot mere weeks after being brutally attacked in a parking lot by a group of men. The April 12 beating was captured on video and circulated widely online, prompting Booker to speak out about the violence the trans community regularly endures.
“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas,” Booker said an April press conference after the video went viral. In it, her attackers shouted transphobic slurs at her as a crowd cheered on. “This time, I can stand before you … whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”
At least 136 trans people have been killed since 2013, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a number that is likely much higher due in part to transphobia and misgendering. Of those killed in recent years, black trans women make up a disproportionately high amount of victims.
The situation appears especially dire in Dallas, where police now have at least four unsolved homicide cases involving black women since 2015, CNN reports. Four have been killed in less than a year.
Asked if there could be a serial killer targeting black women, Chief Hall urged caution, noting that the police don’t have any evidence to support that theory, according to the New York Times.
“We are asking each and every one of our community members to stay vigilant, to make sure you are aware of your surroundings, make sure your friends and family members know who you are with at all times and let individuals know where you are going,” she said.
In a statement shared with the Times, Equality Texas said that Lindsey’s death was “especially tragic coming at the beginning of Pride Month.” The annual celebration recognizes the ongoing gay rights movement, in which trans women have played an instrumental role.
“Right now is a really scary time,” Lou Weaver, the transgender programs coordinator for Equality Texas, told the Times. “We literally just celebrated the life of Ms. Booker last week and on Saturday night they find another transgender woman whose body has been left in a marshy area.”
“People are afraid,” Weaver added. “We’re wondering if someone is targeting the transgender community.”