Police in Hendry County, Florida, are offering up to $10,000 to anyone with information about the gruesome murder of transgender woman Bee Love Slater last year.
Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said that investigators have interviewed more than 100 people and carried out more than 40 search warrants in their search for Slater’s killer since her death last September. The sheriff’s office has now partnered with the FBI, which has allowed them to offer the hefty reward.
Lemetris Jackson, one of Slater’s close friends, said he is glad the FBI has gotten involved, but believes the investigation has stalled. He told The Palm Beach Post that he’s been told his friend’s murder is “the worst crime that’s happened here in Hendry County, but I feel like it’s being taken lightly.”
“Until we see some light being shed, as of now, the circumstances are still the same,” he said.
Jackson and Slater’s family, including her mother, Wunda Williams, held a press conference at the sheriff’s office asking the public to come forward with any information that could help close the case.
Slater, 23, of Pahokee, was found dead inside her car outside an abandoned home near Clewiston, Fla., on Sept. 4, 2019. She had been shot and tied up, and the car she was in was set on fire, burning both Slater and her car “beyond recognition,” according to responding officers.
Sheriff’s authorities later named a “person of interest,” Jameson Richemond, in the case, but no charges have been filed against him, or anyone else, in relation to Slater’s death. Richemond does face charges in an unrelated case.
Davis Christy, a senior supervisory resident agent at the FBI field office in Fort Myers, said the agency is looking into the case as a possible hate crime.
“The family of Bee Love Slater deserves justice,” Christy said. “While there are promising leads we’ve received in this case, we still need the public’s assistance.”
Those with any information about the case are asked to contact the FBI or the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office major crimes unit at (863) 674-5600.
Slater was one of 27 transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the United States who were reported killed last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Many of those people were also people of color.
Jackson said during the news conference that LGBTQ people of color have to “watch our back wherever we go.”
“Especially when I come on this side of town. I can’t come over here without thinking about what happened,” Jackson said. “It could be me.”
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