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Man charged in murder of Dallas transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker

Posted at 8:26 AM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 09:26:54-04

Police in Dallas have arrested a suspect in connection with a string of murders targeting black transgender women.

Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 34, was charged with murder in the slaying of Muhlaysia Booker, a 22-year-old transgender woman who found shot to death in the city last month. Booker was last seen getting into a light colored Lincoln, which is the same type of car driven by Lyles.

Lyles was also named as a person of interest in the death of another black transgender woman, 26-year-old Chynal Lindsay, whose body was found in a Dallas lake less than a month after Booker’s murder. Police are also looking to see if he could be linked to the deaths of other transgender women in the city.

Lyles was arrested last week on unrelated murder charges in two other cases. Police later found evidence to connect him to Booker’s death.

"During the course of investigating these two cases, detectives recognized that arrestee Lyles drove the same type car that is believed to have picked up Muhlaysia Booker on May 18, 2019," police said in a statement. "Cell phone analysis indicated that suspect Lyles frequented the Spring and Lagow area."

“It further put him around Spring and Lagow at the time Muhlaysia was picked up on May 18th and later at the scene of her murder,” the statement added.

Booker was found "lying face down" on a Dallas road on May 18, police said, adding to a fast-growing number of national homicides targeting transgender women.

Booker gained national attention earlier this year when a video circulated online showing a brutal beating by several men in the parking lot of an apartment complex as a crowd cheered.

She told police that the incident occurred after a minor traffic accident and that the men yelled homophobic and transphobic slurs at her.

The Dallas Police department currently has four active murder investigations involving black transgender victims, with the oldest unsolved case dating back to 2015. Brittany White, 29, was fatally shot inside her car in southeast Dallas in October 2018 and another transgender woman was nearly stabbed to death in April.