A 24-year-old transgender woman was murdered on Aug. 30 on Chicago's South Side, according to sources. Her body was discovered at the alley of 40th Street and King Drive late in the morning that day, after persons nearby said that they had heard gunshots.
The woman is still listed as a Jane Doe by Chicago Police department, but but she was identified at about 6 p.m. that day as Chicagoan Dejanay Stanton. According to Dawn Valenti, a crisis responder with Chicago Survivors, which assists family members and others impacted by violent loss, Stanton was legally recognized as female.
According to a Chicago Police Department spokesman, Stanton was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head and was transported to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Area Central Detectives are investigating. The Aug. 30 police statement only identified Stanton as a female Jane Doe; her death was officially ruled a homicide after an autopsy Aug. 31, according to Chicago Sun-Times.
"I hate going out on these kinds of calls," said Valenti. "But this is my community, and I have to do it."
News of Stanton's death circulated quickly on social media, where Stanton used the online moniker De'Janay Lanorra. Friends and loved ones described their memories of Stanton and expressed their grief.
Activist LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance, posted to Facebook: "So we lost another sister here in Chicago. Sending her family and loved ones peace and justice! Rest in power, Dejanay Stanton."
Wade added, "She was so sweet. Every time you saw her she had a smile on her face. She was just trying to live her best life as a young girl."
Kimuni Ebony wrote: "I can't think. I can't sleep. All I can think about is you, De'Janay Lanorra."
Marqueda Johnson also posted: "All down my timeline is you, baby De'janay Lanorra. This is so heartbreaking. I'm hurt. I'm hurting for your family."
A balloon ceremony was held the evening of Aug. 31 and was attended by numerous loved ones, friends and other community members. At that gathering, in comments posted to Facebook by Daishe Davis, her mother pled for persons with knowledge of the crime to come forward, adding, "She didn't bother [anybody]. She meant the world to me."
Stanton is the 18th transgender woman in America to be murdered in 2018. Another transgender woman, 18-year-old Vontashia Bell of Shreveport, Louisiana, was also killed Aug. 30 in the early morning.