Paloma Vázquez left Latin America in search of a better life, particularly to avoid violence. Vázquez was a 29-year-old transgender woman, and as countless news reports show, was especially susceptible to attacks. Once living in Choluteca, Honduras, she picked up and started a new life in Houston, Texas six months ago — all in the search of freedom and happiness.

Tragically, Vázquez was murdered on Saturday, March 5, and was found dead in her southwest Houston apartment by her boyfriend. Although Vázquez’s boyfriend found her just before 8:00 p.m., she seems to have been killed earlier that morning. Vázquez exhibited several gunshot wounds, while the apartment was found unlocked with no signs of forced entry, according to police.

While authorities are still investigating what caused the shooting, Vázquez’s friends have shed new light on the victim.

One friend, Gia Pacheco told ABC 13, “she had just moved into her new apartment and was very excited about decorating,” and regarding the cause of the shooting, simply stated: “whenever a trans person is killed, they are killed because they are trans.”

Pacheco continued, “as most trans women who are here from Latin America, they are here because they are scared of being killed in their own country,” which was Vázquez’s case.

Another friend, Valentin Terrazas, explained to the outlet, “there’s a lot of transphobia in Latin America… they come here for refuge and to better their lives and have a future here.” Sadly, Vázquez could not live out her dream of living a peaceful, worry-free life in the U.S., and met a tragic fate instead.

Several transgender individuals have been murdered in Texas in the past few years, with Courtney Sellers, executive director of LGBTQ nonprofit Montrose Grace Place, telling ABC 13, “Texas is one of the deadliest places in America for trans women and that’s important to look at.”

Even more, Vázquez’s death comes just weeks after Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered residents to report parents of transgender children for abuse.

The Houston Police Department urges anyone with information about Vázquez’s murder to come forward.