Back in 2011, Transgender woman, Shelley Hilliard was found murdered and dismembered. Initially, her family members thought that she was a victim of a hate crime. Later, they found out that the cause of her death was far worse. Hilliard was murdered because she was betrayed by someone she thought she could trust: the police.
Here’s What Happened:
Family members of Shelley Hilliard was worried as they believed that she was missing. Fliers with her face were circulated as Hilliard’s friends and family members prayed that she would be ok. Later, on the east side of Detroit, police officers discovered a burned torso with a distinctive tattoo of cherries on the upper right arm. Investigators learned that the torso belonged to Hilliard who was affectionately known as Treasure.
Shortly before Hilliard went missing, according to Fox 2 News, she was caught with marijuana at a suburban Detroit motel in 2011 with her male companion, Micheal Slaughter. At the time of her arrest, Hilliard agreed to be a police informant to help capture her drug supplier, Qasim “Red” Raqib to avoid going to prison. Officers Chad Wolowiec and David Koehler reportedly threatened Hilliard with prison time and as a transgender woman, prison isn’t exactly the safest place. So, to keep her freedom, Hilliard allegedly called Raqib to meet her at the motel. As Raqib drove up with his female companion, Marquita Clark, Koehler pulled them over. Raqib and Clark were arrested and charged with an intent to distribute marijuana.
While at the police station,Officer Chad Wolowiec, a member of a regional drug unit, gave enough details to the drug dealer’s companion, Clark, to reveal that Hilliard had provided critical information to authorities. Allegedly, Wolowiec told Clark that they used a lady from the Motel 6 to set up Raqib. Eventually, Raqib and Clark were released on bond and Raqib allegedly gave Hilliard a call.
Raqib and his accomplice, James Matthews, reportedly convinced Hilliard to come to a home as they told her that a man was waiting for her. Dressed in a silver party dress, Hilliard arrived to the home as she was dropped off by her regular cab driver. When she was dropped off, Hilliard became concerned upon seeing Matthews and Raqib standing outside so she asked her cab driver to stay on the phone with her. As the cab driver drove away, he allegedly heard Hilliard scream, No, and then the phone was silent.
Angry with Hilliard, Matthews and Raqib allegedly took her to an abandoned home and viciously beat her with a gun. Then, the men reportedly used an axe to cut off her hands, arms, and legs. The men reportedly tossed her torso on the streets of Detroit after they burned her.
Qasim “Red” Raqib, 35, was convicted of second-degree murder in Hilliard’s death and sentenced to 25 to 40 years in prison. The family of Shelly Hilliard filed a civil suit against the Madison Heights Police Department. A settlement was reached and Oakland County has agreed to pay $1.07 million dollars to the family. One-third of it, or $355,000, will go to attorneys at the Goodman & Hurwitz firm. Attorneys asked Officer Wolowiec why he revealed such damaging information during a deposition in the lawsuit. “I don’t know,” Wolowiec replied.
In 2015, a documentary about her life and death as a transgender woman was presented at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Our prayers are with her family.