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Police asking the public for tips after a local transgender woman was found dead

Posted at 9:41 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 23:49:18-05

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Fla — When it comes to Jenny, her friends say to have known her was to love her.

"You know I always remember Jenny as so fun-loving and free-spirited," said her friend Lucas Wehle. "[She was] always just so happy and excited about anything, you know, her new nail color or her new hairdo or a new outfit that she got."

According to the Tampa Police Department, she was found dead on Nov. 2 near the corner of East Fairbanks street and North 9th street.

"That was difficult news for me to cope with," said Wehle.

Wehle says he met Jenny years ago through a local chapter of PFLAG, an LGBTQ+ ally organization.

"I would say at the time, within a few meetings, or maybe a few months of attending PFLAG-Tampa, she had actually come out as trans[gender]," he said.

The Human Rights Campaign lists Jenny as the 46th transgender, or gender-nonconforming, person to be killed this year, out of at least 47. According to the group's data, that number has climbed significantly from the 21 killings they were able to confirm in 2015.

And more often than not, they say the victims are young, transgender women of color, like Jenny.

"There was an element to that news that I think hit me the hardest and I think it's that in the world that we live in, this is our reality," said Wehle.

As law enforcement continues to seek tips in connection to Jenny's case, Wehle says one thing we can all do to honor her and prevent more death is to educate ourselves.

"All of this violence stems from and is rooted in transphobia, homophobia, LGBTQ+-phobia, whatever you want to call it, and misogyny," he said.

Crimes Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in this case. If you have a tip, you can call them anonymously at 1-800-873-8477.