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Then, less than five months later, she was gruesomely killed at her girlfriend’s house.

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“We urge law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney to investigate and apply Missouri’s hate crime law to this case.” Missouri is one of 17 states with hate crime laws that cover offenses targeting people on the basis of their gender identity. In fact, Steph Perkins of the Missouri LGBT-rights group PROMO and Jason Lamb of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys said they could not recall any crimes against transgender people that were prosecuted as hate crimes in the state.

But even if the Steinfeld case were deemed to fall under Missouri’s hate crime law, it probably would not result in a heavier penalty, since first-degree murder is already punishable by execution or life imprisonment.

A transgender teen who was stabbed, her body mutilated and burned, was dating a woman allegedly involved in the gruesome crime.

Ally Steinfeld, 17, was a trans female who said in May on her Instagram account that she was coming out.

Now many LGBT-rights groups are questioning the effectiveness of the laws, saying they sometimes focus too tightly on individual acts without addressing underlying bias or wider violence.