Yet another transwoman has been murdered in America.
According to the New Castle News, 24-year-old Chyna Carrillo was killed in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania on February 18. Carrillo was beaten to death with a blunt object by 33-year-old Juan Carter Hernandez. Hernandez had recently been released from prison after serving an eight to ten-year sentence for murdering his wife in 2011.
According to early reports, Carrillo recently moved to New Wilmington from Arkansas. In Pennsylvania, Carrillo was working as a nursing assistant at a nursing facility called the Grove. Her murder happened in a house next to the Grove.
Police officers were called to the house around 11 a.m. Once there, they found Hernandez beating Carrillo with a blunt object. After ordering Hernandez to stop and seeing that Hernandez refused to do so, an unnamed officer shot Hernandez. Hernandez then died at the scene of the crime. Carrillo, meanwhile, was rushed to St. Elizabeth Health Center in nearby Youngstown, Ohio. She later died there.
As CBS’s WKBN27 reports, there’s currently no evidence that the murder was a hate crime. Instead, it’s being handled as a domestic case. That said, the police have yet to release information about a possible motive for the attack. That might be due to the fact that an officer killed Hernandez. Pennsylvania State Police are conducting an internal investigation because of this and details are being withheld until the investigation is further developed.
Again, this is the second murder case involving Juan Carter Hernandez. Hernandez was convicted for the murder of his wife in 2011. In addition, Hernandez was a military deserter and left the military shortly before the death of his wife.
As for Chyna Carrillo, family and friends have shared words of grief at the news of her death. That includes the fact, according to her mother, that Carrillo would have turned 25 on March 3rd.
“I love my kid with all of my heart and now she’s gone,” Lilia Carrillo told NBC’s KNWA. “She’s not coming back. I’m going to be celebrating a birthday with an angel in heaven.”
“Whenever I was around Chyna and I knew I was working with her, it just felt like my world would light up,” said friend and former coworker Patrick Irish. “Her move to Pennsylvania was supposed to be a new start for her. I was really excited to see that for her, and to see that someone decided it was her time it’s been so painful.”
Chyna Carrillo’s death is the seventh known death of a transgender American in 2021. The number is most likely higher, as violence against trans people is often unreported. So far, 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year for transgender Americans. Last year was the latest record high of 44 victims. At the current moment, we are witnessing a rate of at least one reported death per week.
“The rate of violence against the transgender community so far this year is devastating. Chyna was very young and did not deserve to have her life cut short” Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign’s director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative, said in a statement. “Already in 2021, we’ve lost too many trans lives. If this alarming rate of fatal violence persists, we will either match or surpass last year’s total number of 44 deaths, which marked 2020 as the deadliest year on record for our community. We must speak up and speak out. Everyone must take action to end the violence against our community and we must do so together as one LGBTQ community.”