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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The death of a 46-year-old transgender woman at her home in Southwest Miami-Dade is being investigated as a homicide, according to Miami-Dade Police sources.
On Thursday night, members of the LGBT community gathered at the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami for a vigil to raise awareness about crimes against transgendered people.
“We have experienced a high number of violence within jut the past 7 weeks of 2015. So there is a need to come together and have a place to mourn for this death that hits close to home in Miami,” said Aryah Lester, A transgender woman and activist.
Police say Kristina Gomez Reinwald’s body was discovered at the home that neighbors say she shared with her stepfather and brother at 2045 S.W. 58th Court. Neighbors said she lived in an apartment at the back of the home and her boyfriend was a frequent visitor.
Friends of Gomez Reinwald say she was having problems with her boyfriend.
“Her boyfriend is the one that we believe murdered her they were having issues they were having problems,” said Julio Delanuez, who said he has knows the victim for more than 30 years.
Gomez Reinwald’s neighbors told CBS4 that detectives had shown them photographs of her boyfriend and said they were trying to locate him for questioning. They said police had been called to the home at least three times in the past few years for domestic reasons.
Real House wives of Miami co-star, Lauren Foster, who is also transgender came out to show support.
“She is the eighth trans woman murdered this year and so it is kind of an epidemic.” Foster went on to say, ” I think that domestic violence is rampant in America but transgendered woman sometimes suffer a little bit more because of their spouse , boyfriends, husbands thinks that its easier, okay to abuse them and it’s not.”
Gomez Reinwald was known on Facebook at Kristina Grand Infiniti. Police said she was born as Ruben Gomez but legally changed her name in 2000 to Kristina Gomez Reinwald. She was living as a transgender woman.
Concepcion Rivera, whose mother lives in a home across from where Gomez Reinwald had lived, said he was alarmed by the death.
“It scares me when I hear something like that,” he said. “I don’t want that to happen to anybody. What a person does with their life is their business. What they do in their home is their business. Please find out what happened there because sometimes the longer it takes, the easier it is for that person to get away with it.”
Lori Tanner had met Gomez Reinwald before she had legally changed her name when Tanner was a bartender.
Tanner told D’Oench, “I want to know why someone who I really cared for passed away, with no light or exposure to it and justice for her. She can’t speak for herself. My concerns are that she is a nice person and her death is falling through the cracks. I think a lot of times the transgender community falls through the cracks because not a lot of family speaks for them.”
Gomez Reinwald’s step-father said detectives told him not to speak about the case.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said, “It is an open pending case and very little can be released. We are following several leads and no one has been named as a suspect.”
One group named the Unity Coalition said that seven transgender people had been murdered in the U.S. in the past 50 days.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has cited an “alarming, fatal epidemic of violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming women, specifically transgender women of color in the United States.”