Third killing in same area
Updated: Tuesday, 07 Jul 2009, 10:04 PM MDT Published : Tuesday, 07 Jul 2009, 10:04 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - For the third time in four years and the second time in a month a cross-dressing man has been found dead on the streets of Albuquerque.
They are believed to be the victims of what police across America say is a growing hate crime: People born men, dressed as women, and in all likelihood murdered because of that.
Janice Devereaux, the head of "Transgender New Mexico," believes Albuquerque is seeing that trend.
“I think it's incredibly dangerous,” says Devereaux.
Police aren't sure why someone beat transgender Teri Benally to death last weekend.
Witnesses found Benally, 42, unconscious on Maple Street SE near Coal Avenue. Benally died at a hospital.
“The individual may have been meeting somebody that they found online,” Albuquerque Police Department spokesman John Walsh told KRQE News 13.
Walsh also said police continue to investigate last month's murder of Frederick Watson, a man with four prostitution arrests who was wearing women's clothes when neighbors found his body in an alley just blocks away from where Benally was beaten.
And police still have not found the killer of Ryan Hoskie who was also found dead in the street four and a half years ago in the same neighborhood. Hoskie also dressed as a woman and had been convicted of prostitution three times.
"These three crimes, we are not saying at this time if they are linked,” said Walsh. “They are similar in what has occurred.”
Devereaux said she hopes transgender prostitutes get help.
“We try to discourage prostitution,” Devereaux said. “A lot of times that's the only way for someone to make money.”
Their lifestyle makes an already dangerous crime even more dangerous, she added.
Police ask that anyone with information on any of the three murders to call detectives at the Family Advocacy Center at 924-6000.