Three people have been charged with murder after a transgender teenager in Missouri was stabbed, burned and had her eyes gouged out, authorities said.
Andrew Vrba, 18, Briana Calderas, 24, and Isis Schauer, 18, face charges of first-degree murder in the brutal killing of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld, the Bradenton Herald reported Wednesday.
A fourth person, 25-year-old James Grigsby, faces charges of abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.
Texas County Sheriff James Sigman and prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. are not calling the homicide a hate crime. According to the paper, “probable cause statements do not mention that Steinfeld was trans and make no mention of the fact that Steinfeld was trans.”
In the probable cause statement, no motive for the gruesome killing is given.
Grisby allegedly told authorities “that Vrba told him he had tortured and killed Steinfeld and that Calderas had asked for his (Grigsby’s) assistance with disposing of the remains,” according to court documents obtained by the Bradenton Herald.
Grisby also allegedly admitted that he and the other three suspects went to the residence and placed the teen’s burned remains into a plastic sack before hiding them, the newspaper reported.
Officers searched the home and found human remains in a pile and a plastic bag.
Weeks before her remains were found, the teen had been reported missing, according to the Associated Press.
Steinfeld came out in May, writing in an Instagram post, “I am mtf I hope all u guys support me.”
Her mother told AP that Steinfeld was engaged to a woman, but that relationship ended in August. She then began dating Calderas, living with her and the two 18-year-old suspects in her mobile home in Carbool.
Before her disappearance, Steinfeld was upbeat and happy, telling relatives that she loved them, her mother said.
Steinfeld is the 21st transgender person killed in the U.S. this year, according to Chris Sgro, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign.
“This violence, often motivated by hatred, must come to an end,” Sgro told AP. “We will continue to mourn Ally and fight back against transphobia and anti-trans violence.”