The body of a 17-year-old transgender girl was found inside a car in Sherwood, Ark., June 25 Local police are investigating it as a homicide.
Brayla Stone was discovered in a car that was parked on a walking path off of Gap Creek Drive. Officers immediately transported her body to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
No further details have been released about Stone’s cause of death, or if there were any visible wounds that might indicate how she was killed.
Local news outlets deadnamed Stone in their early reports, which is why it took several days for LGBTQ+ media to report the story. Furthermore, Stone’s family has reportedly made an effort to withhold her trans identity from the public.
Little Rock TV station KLRT, one of the first outlets to report the story, said officials received “several calls and emails” from activists urging them to use Stone’s real name. But after consulting with Stone’s family, the outlet reported the family “have asked us to use the victim’s birth name in our reporting.”
A social media user called @tapnseason later took to Instagram and posted a picture of $100 bills, claiming he was paid to murder Stone, writing “zipped em for 5k. Money Well Spent.”
However, authorities have not confirmed if @tapnseason was in any way related to Stone's murder or if their post was only meant to taunt trans activists. The post has since been deleted.
Stone’s death arrives against the backdrop of rigorous protests across the world, including this weekend’s Queer Liberation march in New York City, which attracted upwards of 15,000 demonstrators calling for an end to Black trans murders and police brutality.
A Change.org petition was created demanding justice for Stone.
A candlelight vigil will be held today at 6:30 p.m. at Boyle Park in Little Rock, organized by the Center for Artistic Revolution.
"Brayla was someone who always held space for others to be themselves and express their identities," the Center for Artistic Revolution wrote in a Facebook post about tonight's vigil. "Despite the fact that these institutions didn’t support Brayla, it is important that we uplift her memory and dedicate ourselves to seeking justice for her. She was 17 years old and her life was taken far too soon. We must put a stop to the violence against Black trans women. We don’t want another Black trans woman’s death to go unnoticed."
Stone's YouTube channel shows that she was quite experimental with music. Earlier this year, she posted a song “fag 2 fag” on her channel. (The audio below is NSFW)