This week, Candace Towns, a 30-year-old Georgia woman, became what is believed to be at least the 25th trans person to be killed in the United States, pushing the already record-high trans murder rate for 2017 even higher.
Towns’ body was discovered on Tuesday afternoon in Macon, GA, after she was reported missing on Sunday. According to the local Telegraph newspaper, she was found shot to death.
Speaking with the Telegraph, Towns’ friend Malaysa Monroe claims the two had spoken the night before she’d been reported missing.
“[Towns] gave me a call and me and her talked,” Monroe said. “She wanted me to come link up with her, but I didn’t ever come out. I wish I would have.”
There are a number of factors that can complicate tracking the transgender murder rate in the United States: Gender identities in transition or kept private, and misgendered media or police reports (as Towns’ initially was) all make compiling a comprehensive list a daunting prospect. However, LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign claims 2017 is the deadliest year for transgender Americans, writing in late October that “at least 24 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means” already this year—one more than last year’s record high. With Towns, that number now sits at 25.