Friends across Kansas City continued Tuesday to mourn the death of Tamara Dominquez, who died after being run over several times in northeast Kansas City early Saturday.
Dominquez came to the United States to escape discrimination against transgender individuals, said a man who on Tuesday identified himself as Dominquez’s boyfriend.
According to police, Dominquez, 36, died after being struck several times by a sport utility truck about 3 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of Independence and Spruce avenues.
Officers who responded to a report of an injured pedestrian found the victim unresponsive in a parking lot. A witness told officers that the victim got out of the vehicle before the vehicle’s driver struck and ran over the victim several times.
Police initially identified the victim as Jesus E. Dominguez.
Investigators remain uncertain as to whether the death represented a hate crime. No arrests had been made on Tuesday.
Investigators are looking for a black or dark-color Chevy Avalanche with a lower body that is gray. The vehicle also has tinted windows and dark custom wheels. The vehicle has a loud muffler, police said.
Dominquez, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, lived her life in the United States as a woman after arriving seven years ago, the boyfriend said Tuesday.
“No one knew her as a man,” said the boyfriend, who spoke through an interpreter. “She was going to change her name. Her driver’s license indicated that she was a male, but she lived her life completely as a female.
“She felt freedom.”
The interpreter added: “She had a lot of dreams. She came from a place where she suffered a lot. That is why she came here.”
The boyfriend said they met at a restaurant in Kansas City and began dating about a month later. A year after dating, the couple decided they wanted to get married. But because Dominquez was still legally considered a man, it would have been illegal, he said.
Three months ago, the couple moved into a small, one-bedroom bungalow just west of Van Brunt Boulevard. On Tuesday, five flickering candles stood on the home’s dining room table, surrounded by four vases of flowers. A spray of photos of Dominquez adorned the dining room table.
Dominquez attended classes at the Don Bosco Center to learn English and also enrolled at Johnson County Community College in hopes of one day working as a nurse, the boyfriend said.
Although Dominquez underwent gender reassignment surgery, immigration officials identified her as a man, the boyfriend said. She was a legal resident, he said, and was in the process of changing her name to reflect her female gender.
The boyfriend said he last saw Dominquez around 6 p.m Friday. She didn’t say where she was going but said she would be back, he said.
Dominquez frequently met friends either in Westport or at the Power & Light District. She would spend the night with a friend if she had too much to drink, the boyfriend said.
The boyfriend said he began to worry when she didn’t return home at 3 a.m. Saturday. He thought maybe Dominquez had been arrested.
Over the next four hours, the boyfriend repeatedly called Dominquez’s cellphone, but she did not answer. Later that afternoon, the boyfriend went to the home of Tamara’s brother looking for Dominquez, but she wasn’t there.
Then the boyfriend came back home, where homicide detectives were waiting for him.
Friends said they did not know why Dominquez was in that area of the city. Her vehicle was found about two blocks away from where her body was found.
The boyfriend said he was still in shock about her death.
“He said he still can’t believe it,” the interpreter said for the boyfriend. “He looks at her clothes, her stuff. It’s not fair and … he wants justice for her.”