Sadly, there is yet another chilling and horrific news story coming out of Florida. This time it’s Fort Myers. Yazmin (or Yaz’min) Shancez, a transgender woman, was not only murdered, afterward her body was set on fire and then thrown in a garbage bin at a Budget Truck Rental.
According to NaplesNews.com, police found Yaz’min’s body in the garbage on Thursday and on Friday identified it as Eddie James Owen, who was 31 years old. Family members told police that Owen identified as a woman and went by Yazmin Shancez. The police have not determined the cause of death and are not investigating the murder as a hate crime.
Shancez started identifying as a woman as early as 2004, according to a police report. At the time Yazmin, who was 20 then, was working as a self employed hair stylist. Sanchez’s father, Harvey Loggins, who continued to refer to Yazmin as his son, though other family members seemed to have completely embraced her transition, had this to say.
“We didn’t hate him for what he was. Still to this day, I love him. I wish he was here right now.”
Loggins said the family placed balloons, flowers and stuff animals at the site where Sanchez was murdered, which was still bloody and charred when he first arrived after hearing the news.
Officer Jay Rodriguez said: “We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.”
Ross Murray, a spokesman for GLAAD said he didn’t know if the killing was motivated by hate but offered “no on deserves to be violently murdered and set on fire and put behind a dumpster.”
Sadly, Yazmin’s death and the nature of her murder are not unheard of. GLAAD reported that in 2013, 13 of the 18 documented anti LGBTQ homicides were transgender women and 89 percent of the victims were people of color.
“Transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, face the most violence against them. I think that transgender people are still marginalized and stigmatized in our society,” Murray said. “We tend to talk about transgender people in a way that discounts their experience and makes them a butt of a joke or deviant or suspicious and doesn’t take (their) whole life into account.”
Sanchez was the oldest of five children on her father’s side and began identifying as a woman pretty young, Loggins said.
Loggins said he didn’t believe his child had any enemies and was obviously saddened that this happened to his child.
Shannon Adams, a friend of Yazmin’s told News-Press.com that she believes she was murdered because she chose to live as a woman. She said, “All people that are different like that are treated differently.” She also told reporters that when she visited the crime scene on Thursday afternoon the sight of Yazmin’s burt hair extensions on the ground was too much to take.
Sadly, the murder comes two years to the day the Owens family suffered another tragedy.
On June 19, 2012 Sanchez’s 16 year old sister Cha’riah Owens was gunned down in a care with her 23 year old boyfriend outside of an apartment complex. A 3 year old cousin in the backseat survived the shooting and was asleep when police found her.
Adams said “Fort Myers needs to stop, enough killing,” Adams said. “The police try, but they are so overwhelmed. It’s too much.”