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Family of transgender woman killed in Charlotte thankful for arrests of two suspects

Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Two men are behind bars, charged in connection to the recent killings of two transgender women in Charlotte.

Police say Dontarius Long and Joel Brewer were arrested in Union County earlier Friday.

Police believe they worked together to kill 29-year-old Jaida Peterson and 28-year-old Remy Fennell.

On April 4, Jaida Peterson was found shot and killed at the Quality Inn off Queen City Drive.

Then 11 days later, on April 15, Remy Fennell was also found shot and killed at the Sleep Inn on North Tryon Street.

Police say both were transgender women were involved in sex work.

“I always prayed for her because every time I turned around a transgender was getting killed, so I always prayed over her,” Jaida Peterson’s sister Veronica White told WBTV.

White says she always worried about her sister Jaida, and when she got the news she was gone it was devastating.

“It’s not okay to go out and kill them like that,” White said. “Because they have a life too and they have family that love them.”

Police are investigating whether the murders were hate crimes.

“I’ve been on the phone with people from the FBI and that’s a conversation we’re having on an ongoing basis,” CMPD Captain Brian Crum said. “I said it before that’s a huge concern we have.”

White says she is holding onto the happy memories she had growing up with her sister.

“She was always full of life,” she said. “She the person who lift the room up. She turn your sad face into a happy face.”

As her family finds the strength to go on, she prays for other families dealing with similar loss.

“My heart goes out to all the families that are suffering what we’re suffering,” she said. “My heart go out to all of them. I feel their pain because Lord knows it hurts. It feels like a giant hole in my heart. I tell myself everyday I wish somebody would stop me and tell me it’s all a dream.”

She says her mother recently sent her daughter some money because they were worried about her potentially being a sex worker.

Police say they are investigating how the suspects connected with these women and whether they solicited them for sex before killing them.

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