Law enforcement officials have arrested a suspect they believe is connected to the 2019 murder of Bee Love Slater, a transgender woman from Pahokee, Florida.
On Wednesday, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office announced it had arrested 35-year-old Marcus Lynell Thompson, of Moore Haven, Florida, charging him with first-degree homicide accessory after the fact, and arson accessory after the fact.
Whidden said during a press conference that the investigation into Love’s murder is “still very active,” noting that several hundred people were interviewed and more than 50 search warrants were issued as part of the investigation. He also said the agency received assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reports CBS affiliate WINK News.
Whidden also said a person of interest in Love’s murder, who had allegedly written a social media post that was interpreted to be a death threat against Slater, had been previously named in the investigation, but has since been cleared.
Whidden said he could not comment on the specifics of the case, and says it has yet to be determined if suspects will be charged with a hate crime. But he also sought to calm the fears of the local transgender community.
“As far as the community goes, just know we are on top of this,” he said.
Slater, a 23-year-old security guard, was found shot and tied up inside her car, which was parked outside an abandoned home near Clewiston, Florida, on Sept. 4, 2019. The assailant then set the vehicle on fire, burning both Slater and her car “beyond recognition,” according to responding officers.
Slater was one of at least 27 transgender and gender-nonconforming people who were killed in an act of violence in 2019, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Kenard Wade, a friend of Slater’s, told WINK News shortly after her death that he believes his friend was targeted because she was transgender. Wade claimed to have spoken with Slater on the night she died, claiming she sent him text messages saying she wanted to leave town, and was worried she could be in trouble if she stayed around.
Since Thompson has only been charged as an accessory, police are still searching for the person they believe actually murdered Slater. At one point, authorities had even offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who might be able to provide assistance with the investigation.
Anyone with information about the murder or possible suspects is being encouraged to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600.
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