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Shelley Hilliard, Missing Transgender Teen, Found Dead, Burned In Detroit

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HENRY HILLIARD JR
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Police have identified a burned torso found on Detroit's east side as belonging to a transgender 19 year old who was reported missing several weeks ago.

The woman, who went by Shelley or Treasure, was last seen at 1:20 a.m. on October 23, reports the Detroit Free Press, which reported on her disappearance earlier this week.

The paper notes that she had a distinctive tattoo of cherries on her upper right arm, which the Detroit Medical Examiner's office used to positively identify her after police found her body near I-94.

A cab driver who Hilliard often relied on for rides dropped her off at home on the night of October 23, Lyniece Nelson, Hilliard's mother, told the Detroit Free Press.

She says he claims there were three men waiting for Hilliard and that her daughter called the driver back and he "started to hear her say, 'What are you doing,' then scream out loud 'No,' then her phone dropped, a few muffling noises, then the phone went dead... By the time he got back around the corner, there was no one in sight."

Police are investigating Hilliard's death as a homicide.

In recent weeks many high profile crimes against LGBT people have involved fire.

In Pennsylvania, Steven Iorio was doused in rum and set on fire by two "friends." In Scotland, the burned body of Stuart Walker was found by police. In Texas, Burke Burnett was stabbed repeatedly with a broken beer bottle and then thrown onto a bonfire.

As HuffPost blogger Phillip Miner recently wrote, fire is all too often a weapon used in crimes against LGBT people. He found that a 1994 study showed 26 percent of arson victims are gay -- a staggering figure when you consider that LGBT people supposedly only make up 10 percent (or less) of the general population.

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