The FBI is investigating whether the alleged murder of a transgender woman by a soldier in El Paso, Texas, was a hate crime, according to multiple reports.
On Tuesday, police arrested Anthony Michael Bowden, 21, charging him in the the Aug. 8 death of Erykah Tijerina, 36, whose legal name was Eric Tijerina, according to a police news release obtained by PEOPLE.
Keith A. Byers, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in El Paso, told the El Paso Times, “The priority is to apprehend the person or the persons responsible and to make sure that we attain justice for the victim.”
On Aug. 8, a witness discovered Tijerina’s body at her public housing complex and notified police, who found “obvious signs of foul play” upon entering her apartment, police say.
Forensic evidence led investigators to Bowden, who joined the Army in July 2013 and was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, police say. Police would not say what that evidence was or comment further on the case.
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In late August, Tijerina’s family and friends held a memorial honoring her.
Tijerina’s sisters told KFOX14 they believe her killing might be a hate crime.
“We’re still in shock about it,” Pearl Tijerina told KFOX14. “It was unexpected.”
She said Erykah was generous, funny and courageous. “She’s the one that told me to stay strong and not care,” she told KFOX14.
Bowden remains in jail on a $750,000 bond. Court records did not list an attorney for him.
The case remains under investigation.
The FBI and El Paso police did not immediately return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.