Missing US trans woman Reyna Hernandez found dead in Mexico

A body discovered in a Mexico cemetery has been confirmed to be that of Reyna Hernandez, US trans woman who had been missing for two weeks. 

The body of 54-year-old Reyna Hernandez, from Renton, Washington, was found in Mexicali, wrapped in a blanket and with signs of having been subjected to torture, including her hands and feet being bound. 

Mexican law enforcement officials arrested a 61-year-old man on unrelated charges and recovered Hernandez’s vehicle, CBS News reported Renton Police as saying. 

Hernandez last had contact with friends at about 10am on 26 February, when she was running errands near her home. She was reported missing two days later when she failed to open her hair salon or answer her phone. 

On 8 March, Renton detectives were made aware of a news article in Mexicali about an unidentified body being found in a cemetery on the Tijuana Highway, close to the border with California.

Investigators contacted the Mexican authorities to share details, enabling Hernandez to be identified.

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“This is the worst possible outcome and our hearts go out to Reyna’s family and friends,” Renton police commander Chandler Swain said. “We are working closely with Mexicali police and our US federal partners to determine when and where Reyna was killed.”

If homicide is confirmed as the cause of death, US authorities will seek to extradite any suspect.

Prior to Hernandez’s body being discovered, police said they believed she had been taken against her will. Public information officer Meeghan Black told reporters on 5 March that they “expect[ed] foul play”. 

Speaking Komo News, German Sahagun, who knew Hernandez for a decade because his family owned a restaurant next to her salon, described her as “very outspoken, loud, friendly”, adding: “She’d always say hello to me, every time I would see her.” 

He last saw her two days before she disappeared. 

“She was kind of quiet that day, which I thought was kind of odd. Usually, she would say my nickname, she would call me Roman. That day, she didn’t really respond to me.”

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