• Group wants answers in homicide case of transgender woman

    By: Susanna Black

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An advocacy group is demanding answers in a homicide case that started with the discovery of human remains in a July house fire.

    “When will we have leads?” said Kendra Johnson, who is with Equality NC.

    Wednesday was Transgender Day of Remembrance.

    Johnson said she's concerned about the lack of details being released in Walker's case. She believes it could be because Walker might not have a large support system to advocate on her behalf.

    "Many times, (transgender people) don't have strong family connections because of familial rejection," Johnson explained. "You don't have a strong advocate pressuring police or the fire department to get to the bottom of what exactly happened in these violent circumstances."

    The fire happened on July 27 at a home that was being renovated along Kenley Lane in south Charlotte, according to fire officials.

    [ALSO READ: CFD: 1 hurt in east Charlotte fire caused by water heater malfunction]

    An insurance adjuster found the remains three days later and called 911.

    On Tuesday, police identified the remains as 55-year-old Vernon "Bubba" Walker, a transgender woman who had been missing since July.

    “When will we know what happened to her?” Johnson said four months later.

    The home, which was under renovations and believed to be uninhabitable, was fully engulfed by flames when firefighters arrived.

    Channel 9 asked Wednesday if there were any updates in the homicide case, but there were none.

    “When will the community have some accountability regarding the suspicious circumstances surrounding Bubba's death?” Johnson said.

    The structure collapsed and was destroyed.

    It took 23 firefighters about 35 minutes to put out the fire.

    Investigators said the scene was not safe for firefighters, and they could only go into the structure after the fire had been put out and up to a certain point, because of the structure's condition.

    Investigators believe no one could have lived in the structure prior to the fire because of the construction that was underway. 

    The structure was incredibly compromised, officials said.

    The cause of the fire has not been determined, and the investigation is ongoing.

    Walker's cause of death is unknown but that her body was severely burned, according to the autopsy report.

    Her identity had to be confirmed through DNA.

    “I feel like this is another act of unnecessary violence against some of the most marginalized folks in our community,” Johnson said.

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