Two-spirit woman Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow is 2017's second transgender homicide victim
Police in Sioux Falls are investigating the homicide of Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a 28-year-old two-spirit transgender woman, KSFY reports.
Wounded Arrow was found after a neighbor smelled a "strong odor" coming from her apartment Friday night, according to KSFY. Officers discovered her body there.
On Sunday, KSFY reported that police had a suspect, 25-year-old Joshua Rayvon LeClaire, in custody.
After her death, friends and loved ones shared messages about Wounded Arrow on Facebook.
According to Tamara Jeanne, the president of TransAction South Dakota, Wounded Arrow's death is the first reported transgender homicide in South Dakota. Jeanne said Wounded Arrow's death hit her pretty hard, as Wounded Arrow was in talks to join TransAction South Dakota to conduct outreach to First Nation transgender people. According to the page Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies, Wounded Arrow was originally from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and belonged to the Oglala Lakota tribe.
"Our hearts are broken as we will miss her very much. So again, prayers are needed. Pilamaye," the post reads.
"Based upon the investigation, the victim's death appears to be a homicide," Lt. Michael Colwill said in a news release obtained by the Argus Leader. More details will be released about Wounded Arrow's death after a police briefing scheduled for Monday.
Wounded Arrow's death is 2017's second reported homicide of a transgender woman, just three days after the death of Mississippi's Mesha Caldwell.
In a statement, the New York City Anti-Violence Project said it was "deeply saddened" to hear of Wounded Arrow's death and sent thoughts to her family.
"Jamie's homicide is the second homicide of [a] transgender woman of color in 2017 and we are only seven days into the new year," said Shelby Chestnut, NYCAVP's director of community organizing and public advocacy. "Her homicide is especially troubling as it highlights [the] disproportionate impact violence has on trans people of color, especially two-spirit people who are often invisible within LGBTQ communities. Now more than ever we must defer to communities most impacted by this deadly violence and follow their leadership to find solutions to this violence."
Jan. 9, 2017, 4:49 p.m.: This story has been updated.