St. Francis County Sheriff’s Department investigators in Forrest City, Ark., have some leads in the March 8 murder of transwoman Marcal Tye, but have made no arrests yet and are waiting on the Arkansas State Crime Lab to complete forensic testing to move forward, according to reports in The Republic newspaper in Columbus, Ind. The Republic based its report on reports in the Forrest City Times-Herald, which requires a subscription to read its content online.
Preliminary autopsy reports indicate Tye was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head and from blunt force trauma caused by being run over. Her body was dragged several hundred feet by a car after she was shot. Investigators found two .38-caliber shell casings at the scene.
Tye, who was well known as a trans woman in Forrest City, was found dead by passersby on a country road just outside the Forrest Hill city limits in the early morning hours of March 8. The case received national attention when early news reports called Tye “a man in a dress” and quoted St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May as calling her a crossdresser.
The FBI is investigating the case as a possible civil rights violation but has made no determination on whether her death was a hate crime. Sheriff May has said it was “an ordinary murder” and not a hate crime.
The case has also raised new concerns for the transgender community in Memphis, about 45 miles away on Interstate 45, where a number of trans women have been killed or injured in attacks over the last five to six years.