The brutal murder of a transgender woman has left Detroit police with plenty of questions but no answers.
The victim, 35-year-old Coko Williams, was found dead in the 100 block of Parkhurst in Detroit early Tuesday. According to MyFOXDetroit.com, Williams' throat was slashed and she was shot at least one time. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Witnesses told police the shooter fled in a gold-colored car, WWJ reported. The motive for the slaying remains unknown.
The area where the murder occurred is known for sex work, but authorities say they do not yet know if there is a connection.
"To be clear, it is unknown at this time whether Ms. Williams was engaged in sex work at the time of her killing, however, it is clear that sex workers are often targets of severe violence," Equality Michigan’s Director of Victim Services, Nursrat Ventimiglia, said in a statement about the murder.
Ventimiglia said transgender women are often victims of severe violence.
"Our most recent report through the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ... documented 27 anti-gay, transgender and HIV positive murders, the second highest yearly total ever recorded by the coalition," he said. "Transgender women made up 44% of the 27 reported murders in 2010 while representing only 11% of total survivors and victims."
Among the transgender murder victims, 42% of them were engaged in sex work at the time of their murder, Ventimiglia said.
Williams' murder comes less than a month after 19-year-old Qasim Raqib was ordered to serve up to 40 years in prison for the October killing of a transgender teen. Raqib, of Detroit, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the slaying of 19-year-old Shelley Hilliard. The victim had been mutilated and set on fire.
Anyone with information in the most recent case is asked to contact Detroit Police at 313-596-2260 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
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