13 Transgender Americans Murdered in 2012

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com November 20 2012 6:06 AM ET

Every November 20, activists around the globe pause to honor the transgender lives lost to violence, hate, and prejudice. Transgender Day of Rememberance was established in 1999 to memorialize Rita Hester, a trans woman brutally murdered November 28, 1998. Hester's murder remains unsolved, as do many of the crimes committed against transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

According to TDOR's official website, at least one trans person has been killed every month for the past decade. Trans women of color are most often targeted by this violence. 

This year TDOR honors 265 trans people murdered because of hate. Thirteen of those deaths took place in the United States. Read on to find out more about each of the lives lost and find a comprehensive, worldwide list of TDOR vigil events here

Deoni Jones died of a stab wound to the face that penetrated her skull February 2 in Baltimore. She was 23. According to Homicide Watch D.C., Gary Niles Montgomery, a panhandler caught on video attacking Jones, was charged with first-degree murder while armed. He pleaded not guilty in November.

Coko Williams, 35, was found dead in Detroit April 4. According to Detroit TV station WJBK, Williams had been shot and her throat was slashed. Police are still looking for the killer. According to Crime Stoppers, Williams’s murder occurred less than a month after 19-year-old Qasim Raqib received a 40-year sentence for the murder of trans woman Shelley Hilliard, also 19, who had been mutilated and set on fire in the same city. There is a still a reward for information that might lead to an arrest in the Williams case.

Tyrell Jackson, 23, was shot to death in Riviera Beach, Fla., April 4, and a friend of hers was wounded in the same attack. Luis Rijo De Los Santos, 22, was arrested in connection with the crime.

Paige Clay was found dead of a gunshot wound to her face April 16 in Chicago. She was also 23. Her murder has not been solved.

Tiffany Gooden was found dead in an abandoned building in Chicago's Austin neighborhood August 14. She died of multiple stab wounds. She was only 19 years old. She was found just blocks from where Paige Clay was found shot to death in April. Her murder has also not been solved.

Deja Jones was shot to death in Miami  August 26. She was 33. No arrest has been made.

Kendall Hampton died of gunshot wounds in Cincinnati  August 29.  She was 26. In September, 19-year-old Eugene Carlos Dukes was arrested and charged with her murder.

Kyra "Kruz" Cordova, 27, was shot in the head at point-blank range September 3 in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. NBC Philadelphia reports that the case is cold and her family is still looking for answers."If someone could so horribly do it to her, then they could do it to somebody else," said her mother, Dawn Maher.

Rene "Rosita" Hidalgo Hernandez was found gagged with multiple stab wounds and a slit neck March 15 in Miami. On November 19, according to The Miami Herald, police arrested Miguel Pavon, who has been charged with first-degree murder. Police told reporters that DNA evidence found on a used condom, sock, and underwear found near Hidalgo Hernandez's body matched a sample Pavon had given police when they were investigating the murder of a sex worker in 2011.

Brandy Martell, 37, died of gunshot wounds on April 29 in Oakland, Calif. SF Weekly reports that Martell's assailant shot her in her genitals before he shot her twice more in the torso. Tiffany Woods, her old boss at Tri-City Health Center, where Martell was a peer counselor, has been working with local police to lower the violence trans people face in Oakland. Martell's murder is still unsolved.

Lorena Escalera died in a suspicious fire in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 11. Escalera, whose stage name was Lorena Xtravaganza, performed at several nightclubs in New York and was known by fans as the "Puerto Rican Beyoncé." There have been no arrests in the case.

Crain Conaway, 47, was beaten to death in her Oceanside, Calif., home in January. Tyree Paschall, 28, has been charged with the crime and pleaded not guilty in April. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for December 5, according to Camp Pendleton Patch.

Tracey Johnson (not pictured), 40, died of multiple gunshot wounds July 5 in Baltimore. She and a friend had run from the attacker into a home, but she was followed and shot to death. In August police released a sketch of the suspected killer, who so far has eluded arrest.