The body of a 25-year-old transgender woman was found near Highway 334 in Forrest City, Arkansas on Tuesday morning. St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May told WREG that Marcel Camero Tye appeared to have a head wound and appeared to have been dragged by a car, but the office is awaiting the official autopsy results. Forrest City, a town of about 14,000, is located about an hour's drive west of Memphis.
Mays did say some witnesses claimed to have heard gunshots in the area near where Tye's body was discovered. Although Tye identified as transgender, May referred to her as a "cross dresser." The Times-Herald of Forrest City reported today that the FBI has joined the sheriff's department in the investigation of Tye's murder as a possible hate crime. Arkansas does not have a law against hate crimes.
Tye is one of several transgender murder victims, including Duanna Johnson, Tiffany Berry, and Ebony Whitaker, in the Mid-South over the last few years. This morning, the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center issued a statement regarding the problem:
“Memphis is known to many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities around the country as a city unsafe for transgender women. That’s not the type of reputation we want. Definitely not something to be proud of,” says Will Batts, executive director of Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
"We certainly hope that law enforcement officials will make every effort to bring to justice those who committed this horrible crime. It is important for every citizen in our Mid-South community to feel safe and equally protected under the law.”