As Transgender Awareness Week comes to a close, the week of celebration, recognition and advocacy ends with Transgender Day of Awareness on Nov. 20.

The solemn day is a time for the community to recognize the deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people — in recent years, murders of people in the community have escalated at an alarming rate. In their memory, we looked back at these murders in Florida since 2015 and tracked down the latest on each case.

Twelve of these 23 murders are still open.

The Human Rights Campaign keeps an up-to-date list of trans murders around the country. This is where we got most of the names for this story. HRC has tracked in a total of at least 47 deaths this year. In 2020, HRC tracked 44 for the year.

The most recent death was Angel Naira, a 36-year-old Black transgender woman who was found fatally shot at her home in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania on Nov. 11.

Often, news reports, police and even family and friends will misgender and dead-name transgender and gender non-conforming people. We will be using pronouns and names that the HRC shares in its reports.

 

 

2015

Kristina Gomez Reinwald

Killed February 2015

Reinwald, also known as Kristina Grant Infiniti, was found dead in her home in Miami and police originally ruled the 46-year-old’s death a suicide, according to the Miami New Times. However, after further investigation the Miami-Dade Police classified it as a homicide case. Friends believed that the suspect was her boyfriend; the investigation is still open.

India Clarke

Killed July 2015

IndiaClark

Photo via Facebook.

Clarke, 25, was found dead with bullet wounds to the back of her head and upper arm; according to the Tampa Bay Times. Assistant State Attorney Ronald Gale called the killing “execution-style” and said that there was evidence of a struggle. Keith Gaillard, then 18, was arrested for the murder and after five years in the court system, he was acquitted in 2020 as lawyers said there wasn’t enough proof that he killed Clarke. A condom with his DNA was found in the back of her car, he had scratches on his neck after the incident, and friends said he carried the same type of weapon used to kill her.

2016

Mercedes Successful

Killed May 2016

MercedesSuccessful

Photo via Facebook.

The 32-year-old was an active member of the LGBT community and known for her drag performances and makeup skills. Successful was found shot to death in a parking lot in Haines City, with her pockets turned inside out and text messages between her and a man regarding drugs and a possible sexual encounter, according to WFLA. A year later, two men were arrested for their involvement in the murder — Re’shaunte Jermaine Anglin, 18, was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and tampering with evidence. Ray Leon Walker, 22, was charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with physical evidence. In 2019, Anglin was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

2017

Chayviss “Chay” Darice Reed

Killed April 27, 2017

ChayReed

Photo via Facebook.

Reed, 28, was shot and killed in the West Little River neighborhood of Miami. Surveillance footage from a neighbor’s home captured Reed running across the street, six to seven gunshots going off, then she collapsed in the middle of the street, Local 10 reports. The investigation is still open.

Rhiannon Layendecker

Killed Dec. 16, 2017

RhiannonLayendecker

Photo via Facebook.

The 51-year-old was shot to death by her wife, Jessica Winkler, who is also transgender, in their Englewood home after a dispute. Her body was found in the bed of the couple’s pick-up truck and police found that Winkler was planning on burying her wife’s body on their property, according to the HRC. She later called 911 and was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Winkler pleaded guilty in 2019 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

2018

Celine Walker

Killed Feb. 4, 2018

CelineWalker

Photo via Facebook.

Walker, 36, was found shot to death in a Jacksonville extended stay, according to News4Jax. Advocacy groups came forward demanding a change in how police handle murders of trans people, as she was originally misgendered and deadnamed. She also went by the name Erika. In September 2019, Sean Bernard Phoenix, 21, was arrested and charged with her murder. According to Metro Weekly, the two had a “previous relationship” and after the murder, he sold the weapon used. The Florida-Times Union reported that in October 2020, Phoenix pleaded guilty and was charged with 35 years in prison. Walker was the first of four trans women to be killed in Jacksonville in 2018.

Antash'a English

Killed June 1, 2018

AntashaEnglish

Photo via Facebook.

English, 38, was found shot between two buildings and later died at a hospital in Jacksonville. Before she died, she was able to tell police that the person who shot her was wearing a gray hoodie, according to Action News Jax. A regular performer at Incahoots Nightclub for nearly a decade, friends planned a vigil in her honor. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tells SFGN that her case is still an active, ongoing investigation.

Cathalina Christina James

Killed June 24, 2018

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Photo via Facebook.

The South Carolina native, 24, was shot to death at a Jacksonville hotel, according to WLXT. Her mother told the media that her daughter loved traveling, which was why she was in Florida at the time. She also described Christina James as a bold personality who was always at the center of attention. Being the third trans woman killed in Jacksonville in a matter of months, LGBTQ Nation asked the question: does the city have a serial killer? The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told SFGN that her case is still an active, ongoing investigation.

Sasha Garden

Killed July 19, 2018

SashaGarden

Photo via Facebook.

Originally from Wisconsin, Garden, 27, was found dead in her Orlando apartment. According to Orlando Weekly, her home was a haven for sex workers, as she often handed out condoms, water bottles, and helped with HIV testing. She was also a sex worker and it was believed she may have been killed while she was working. The Orange County Sheriff’s office tells SFGN that there have been no arrests made in the case, but that the investigation is still open.

Jessie Sumlar

Killed July 19, 2018

JessieSumlar

Photo via Facebook.

The 30-year-old queer person and drag performer was found stabbed to death in their Jacksonville apartment; the gun was found in the doorway and their car and wallet were missing, according to First Coast News. A few days after the murder, their car was found burned. Police arrested Omar Lewis, thanks to tips and DNA evidence, and he was indicted with a first-degree murder charge by a grand jury in 2019, News4Jax reports.

Londonn Moore

Killed Sept. 15, 2018

LondonnMoore

Photo via Facebook.

The 20-year-old Port Charlotte resident was found dead in a remote area outside of North Port with multiple gunshot wounds; her car was found in another location the next day, The Advocate reports. In December 2018, Juan Jose Salazar-Diaz was arrested when his DNA was found in Moore’s car; texts show the two knew each other prior to the shooting death. He was charged with second-degree murder, grand theft auto, and possession of a firearm by a felon. North Port Police told SFGN that he is still in Sarasota County Jail awaiting trial.

2019

Ellie Marie Washtock

Killed Jan. 31, 2019

EllieMarieWashtock

Photo via Facebook.

Washtock, who was gender-nonconforming, was shot and killed in St. Augustine; they were found dead by their teenage son. Beyond the case being a tragedy, the public was also wary of the case because Washtock was looking into the 2010 murder of Michelle O’Connell, a single mother in neighboring St. Johns County whose death was originally labeled a suicide. O’Connell’s mother told the media that she believed Washtock was killed because of their investigation. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office told SFGN that there are no suspects and no arrests have been made, but the investigation is still open.

Kiki Fantroy

Killed July 31, 2019

KikiFantroy

Photo via Facebook.

Fantroy, 21, was shot and killed in south Miami-Dade County after turning down a proposition for sex, according to NBC 6. Then, as Local 10 reports,17-year-old William Watson opened fire on the group Fantroy was walking with, then chased after her and shot her to death. He was arrested on another charge, then confessed to the murder. He was charged as an adult for second-degree murder.

Bee Love Slater

Killed Sept. 4, 2019

BeeLoveSlater

Photo via Facebook.

Slater, 23, was found burned “beyond recognition” in a car in Clewiston; her best friend told WINK News he believed that Slater was killed because of her gender identity. Although CBS News reported that the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office had a person of interest, a year later, the outcome appeared vaguer with the FBI putting up a $5,000 reward for information on the case, an amount matched by the sheriff’s office. WPTV reported that police have interviewed hundreds of people and executed 40 search warrants on the case; the investigation is still open.

2020

Tony McDade

Killed May 27, 2020

TonyMcDade 1

Photo via Facebook.

The 38-year-old was shot and killed by Tallahassee police after he was accused of stabbing to death his girlfriend’s son that same morning. Police say that McDade was armed and “made a move consistent with using the firearm against the officer.” The police officer’s name has not been released.

Bree Black

Killed July 3, 2020

BreeBlack

Photo via Facebook.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Black, 27, was shot and killed outside her Pompano Beach home. Even with the streets filled with people for the holidays, no witnesses have come forward with information on her killer. The case is still open and in October 2021, the reward money for information was upped to $10,000.

Clio Kalliope Addison

Killed July 16, 2020

ClioKalliopeAddison

Photo via Facebook.

The 20-year-old, who was nonbinary, got into an altercation in North Miami with their partner, Bernard St. Pierre, which ended in Addison being shot and killed. Surveillance video showed that Addison slapped Pierre in the face, then punched him with brass knuckles that had a taser attached. St. Pierre then shot towards Addison. A few weeks later, prosecutors dropped the charges against St. Pierre, citing the “stand your ground” defense, NBC 6 reports.

Skylar Heath

Killed Nov. 4, 2020

SkylarHeath

Photo via Facebook.

Little is known about this case other than the 20-year-old was shot and killed in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, according to The Advocate. Miami-Dade Police are investigating Heath’s death as a homicide and the case is still open.

Yunieski Carey Herrera

Killed Nov. 17, 2020

YunieskiCareyHerrera

Photo via Facebook.

The 39-year-old beauty queen was stabbed to death by her husband, Ygor Arrudasouza, in Miami. He said that the two were arguing and he was under the influence of meth when he killed Herrera with a fork and knife in the middle of Transgender Awareness Week. Arrudasouza was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He is still in jail on an immigration hold.

2021

Alexus Braxton

Killed Feb. 4, 2021

KimmyIconBraxton

Photo via Facebook.

Braxton, who also went by the name Kimmy Icon, was found dead in her Miami bedroom in what police called a “violent and vicious attack.” The Miami-Dade Police shared surveillance footage of a person of interest, who was wearing a black zip-up track sweater over a white shirt and black pants. No arrests have been made in the murder of the 45-year-old hairstylist; the case is still open.

Keri Washington

Killed May 1, 2021

KeriWashington

Photo via Facebook.

A relative found the 49-year-old’s body outside of their Clearwater and called 911, according to the Tampa Bay Times. A week later, Washington’s long-time partner, Arthur Benjamin Jr., confessed to slamming her head against a light pole during an argument. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Royal Poetical Starz

Killed Oct. 2, 2021

RoyalPoeticalStarz

Photo via Facebook.

A resident of Pompano Beach, the 26-year-old was found gunned down inside of her Hummer in Miami Gardens — family says that she was shot in the face and then another 20 times in her body. Starz’s body was returned to Omaha, Nebraska, to be buried close to her family. The singer earned her business degree from Florida Career College vocational school in July. The case is still open and police continue searching for her killer.

Jenny De Leon

Killed Nov. 2, 2021

JennyDeLeon

Photo via Facebook.

The 25-year-old’s body was found outside of a home in the Tampa neighborhood of Sulphur Springs. De Leon was an active member of her local PFLAG group, who said that she was an “enigmatic, bright soul.” The Tampa Police Department has not shared her cause of death and the investigation is still open.


If you have information on any of the open cases above, contact your local or county police department. There are also anonymous tip lines, such as Crime Stoppers and Crimeline, in various communities.