ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 29-year-old Jose Juan Mendoza Espinoza for the murder of a transgender woman in late September. Just before 1:30 a.m. on September 26, deputies responded to reports of a potentially dead person in southwest Albuquerque. There they met a search party looking for a person reported missing and they found the body of 35-year-old Sherlyn Marjorie.

Through an investigation, they identified Espinoza as a suspect. Deputies said he told them that he and Marjorie were in a secret sexual relationship and that he had paid her to keep quiet about the relationship. He told them that she asked him for $5,000. He said she threatened to disclose the relationship to his wife and that is why he killed her. Espinoza is suspected of hitting the woman before tying the body and dumping in a drainage tunnel.

BCSO said they don’t believe the murder was a hate crime. Espinoza has been charged with murder and four counts of tampering with evidence.