A transgender woman was found murdered in a hotel room in Oklahoma City early Monday morning, making her the 25th known transgender homicide victim this year.
Police responding to a report of a disturbance at the hotel about 2:30 a.m. discovered the body of Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, 31, reports Oklahoma City TV station KFOR. "This person had trauma to their body consistent with homicide,” police spokesman Gary Knight told the station. “I can't go into the type of trauma they had or what we believe killed them.” There have been no arrests, and police have not determined a motive, he said.
LGBT advocates in the city worried that Stevenson was targeted for being transgender. “We don’t know what happened,” trans activist Paula Sophia Schonauer, a former Oklahoma City police officer, told KFOR.
“When I found out [Monday] night, it broke my heart,” Schonauer added. “I’ve gotten to know Brooklyn a little bit. I knew how hard she was trying and how much she was working to establish her identity and to establish a place in the world for herself.”
“It’s a deep concern,” Troy Stevenson (no relation to Brooklyn), executive director of LGBT group Freedom Oklahoma, told the station. “We’ve got a member of the transgender community that’s been murdered like this and it happens quite often, unfortunately.”
He continued, “It’s tragic, no matter what, that Brooklyn was killed. We absolutely hope that it’s proven not to be a hate crime.”
Brooklyn Stevenson’s family released a statement to the TV station, saying, “We are heartbroken. Brooklyn BreYanna was an amazing daughter, sister and friend with a giving and loving heart. We pray that those who committed this heinous crime will be identified and Brooklyn will receive justice.” The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help with burial costs.
Police ask that anyone with information about the crime call the department’s homicide tip line, (405) 297-1200.