A trans woman has been found dead in the Mexican city of Celaya.
Paulett Gonzalez, originally from Puerto Vallarta, won the title of Gay Beauty Queen in the state of Nayarit last year.
She went missing in early June, while on a visit to a friend in Irapuato, in the state of Guanajuato.
The Daily Mail reports Gonzalez left her friend, saying she had some personal business to attend, but never returned.
Her severely burned remains were found in Celaya on Friday, according to Diario Uno; DNA tests confirmed it was Gonzales, and her parents reportedly also formally identified her.
Authorities are now investigating whether Gonzalez’ death was a hate crime.
According to Mara Rojo Sanchez, NNC president of the Asociación civil Ser Libre (Civil Association Be Free), Gonzalez was brutally murdered before her corpse was set on fire, which could prove there is ‘marked hatred’ against the LGBT community.
‘It’s a crime with the aggravating circumstance of being a transsexual,’ said Jorge Luis Zamora Cabrera, state secretary of sexual diversity.
‘Because their chracteristics were visibly transsexual; considering this, one of the motives that have to be considered is whether this was a transphobic crime.’
Following the news of her death, many of Gonzalez’s friends posted tributes on her Facebook page, describing her as ‘cheerful, happy, without fear of anything’.
‘One more angel watching over us from heaven,’ one of her friends, Estef Toriz, wrote.
‘Kisses to up there, beautiful.’