Watch CBSN Live

Suspect ID'd in slaying of transgender woman found in burning car

Black transgender woman found burned to death
Black transgender woman found burned to death... 01:33

Police in south Florida say they have identified a suspect in the slaying of a transgender woman found dead in a burning car this month. The Hendry County Sheriff's office is searching for 29-year-old Jamson Richemond in the September 4 murder of Bee Love Slater.

The office is investigating the case as a possible hate crime, Hendry County Sheriff's spokeswoman Capt. Harelle told CBS News, but they haven't yet confirmed a motive.

Richemond is also believed to be connected to the killing of Jamal Hubert, a 30-year-old father found dead in a South Bay canal in June, Harelle said. 

Authorities have not said how Slater or Hubert died, or why they believe Richemond is linked to the cases. He has not been charged in either death.

Bee Love / Facebook
Bee Love Slater Bee Love / Facebook

On September 4, police responding to a 911 call reporting a car fully engulfed in flames in Clewiston, Florida, found 23-year-old Slater's body inside. Her remains were burned beyond recognition, Harelle has said.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden told news outlets his department is working diligently to solve the crimes.

"We are following up on every lead, every bit of information we get," Whidden told NBC affiliate WBBH. "This homicide has been one of the most gruesome homicides I've seen."

Slater's best friend, Kenard Wade, told CBS Fort Myers affiliate WINK he believes Slater was targeted as a member of the LGBTQ community. He told the station Slater, who lived in Pahokee, about 30 miles from where her body was found, had received threats the day she was found slain. She reportedly told him she wanted to leave town to avoid trouble.

''She had a really, really good heart," Wade told WINK. "She would never harm anyone, never put anyone in harm's way. How could someone go to that extreme to get rid of her?"

Jamson Richemond WINK

On Friday, deputies searched a home about two and a half miles from where Slater's body was found. Deputies were seen removing bags of evidence from the home, which the Palm Beach Post reports is Richemond's last known address. 

Social media has played a key role in the investigation, according to the sheriff. Speaking to WBBH, Whidden said deputies were investigating a Facebook post made before the crime that read, "Somebody need to kill B. Love." He told the station the post was linked to the home.

"A lot of the stuff we're looking into is based on social media," Whidden said.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Slater is at least the 18th transgender person slain in 2019. The advocacy group tracked 26 killings of transgender people last year; the majority of the victims transgender women of color. In June, the American Medical Association called fatal attacks against transgender people of color an "epidemic." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.