TDoR 1998 / 1998 / September / 20 / Chanel Chandler

Chanel Chandler

Age 22

20 Sep 1998
Clovis, California (USA)

TDoR list ref: Sep 1998/Chanel Chandler

Chanel Chandler

Chanel was stabbed to death, allegedly by Christopher Joseph Lopez and a 16-year-old friend.

Murdered woman was a [trans woman]

No arrests, but cops learn more about Chanel Chandler.


FRESNO -- Chanel Chandler slipped into a skimpy black mini-dress with silver and gold stripes. The 22-year-old set out for a September night of dancing, partying at a Fresno club until 2 am. It was not an atypical night out for a single woman, Clovis police said. Five hours later, Chandler was dead. The body was found in a burning Clovis apartment that was shared with a woman. Police believe the blaze was set to make the slaying look like another type of crime.

It was nearly a week befure police revealed Chandler's name and the case’s biggest twist: Chanel Chandler was [a trans woman]. Whether that led to Chandler's death in a mystery, police said. “In a situation like this, that's the first motive you jump an, obviously, but you don't want to let that keep you from expluring other options, too,” Clovis police spokeswoman Micheline Golden said. After interviewing numerous people, police know more about Chandler's life but have yet to make an arrest.

“The impression we have is that she pretty much lived the life of a normal, single 22-year-old woman,” said Golden. “This is someone who led a very quiet lifestyle.” Quiet maybe, but far from routine. Chandler was born [deadname] Roe into a conservative Montana family. “It was a fairly nice childhood,” said Chandler's aunt, Carls Caronado. “[She] was just a normal kid.” By the time [she] hit hin teens, however, it grew clear that Roe wanted to be a woman. [She] dropped out of high school and moved from Montana. [She] headed to San Francisco — and a new life as Chanel Chandler.

Roe changed [her] name to Chanel Chandler, using it on rental and job applications. Every piece of identification that Clovis police discovered inside Chandler’s apartmhent contained the new name. After moving, Chandler underwent breast implant surgery, but never had [her] sex organs [changed]. Friends and relatives say Chandler even married a man in Sacramento, although officials found no record of marriage.

That man, whom Chandler lived with in Citrus Heights, declined to be interviewed. “She was straight. It's kind of weird,” Coronado said. “She always dated men.”

During the years in California, Chandler closely guarded the “secret.”

“Not telling people, that was important,” Coronado aaid. “Even people that were very close to her, I don’t think they had any idea.” Even Chandler's roommate, a woman with whom he worked, was unaware of Chandler's [birth] gender, police said.

On Sept. 20, the morning Chandler was killed, the roommate was away from home. Police know that Chandler was dropped off near the Clovis apartment about 2 a.m. The man who took [her] home has been questioned and cleared by police, Guiden said. Chandler may have walked to a nearby market before returning home. Sometime during the night, someone killed Chandler — police won't say how — then set the apartment on fire.

Report added: 17 Feb 2019. Last updated: 10 Oct 2021

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