The body of Brayla Stone, a 17-year-old transgender teen, was found dead inside her car in Sherwood, Arkansas on June 25. Local police are investigating it as a homicide.
According to Fox 16, Stone was discovered in a car that was parked on a walking path, and upon arriving on scene, police discovered her body inside the vehicle. She was immediately transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
Stone’s cause of death has yet to be released by authorities.
During initial reporting of Stone’s death, local news outlets used her birth name. Fox 16 recently updated their story after receiving “several calls and emails” from activists urging them to use Stone’s real name. However, after consulting with Stone’s family, the outlet reported that the family “have asked us to use the victim’s birth name in our reporting.”
A social media user posted on Instagram a picture of $100 bills, claiming payment for the murder of Stone, writing “zipped em for 5k. Money Well Spent.” Authorities have not confirmed if this person was actually related in any way to Stone's murder or if the post was only meant to taunt trans activists. The post has since been deleted.
A candlelight vigil was held on Monday night (June 29), which was organized by the Center for Artistic Revolution.
"Brayla was someone who always held space for others to be themselves and express their identities," the group wrote in a Facebook post. "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."
“Brayla Stone is the 8th transgender person killed in the last seven days,” David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement. “Brayla Stone was seventeen years young when someone murdered her because we live in a society where it is not yet explicit that when we say BlackLivesMatter we mean all Black lives, which includes Black trans women and girls.”
A Change.org petition was created to demand justice for Brayla Stone which already has over 157,000 signatures at the time of publication.
Photo: Sujata Jana / EyeEm