Calif. Trans Woman Found Murdered in Home

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday August 21, 2013

A transgender woman was found murdered in her Fontana, Calif., home Tuesday and according to witnesses, a shirtless man left her apartment with clothes and a computer and drove off in the victim's car, CBS Los Angeles reports.

According to police, Domonique Newburn's body was found in her apartment in Fontana, Calif., which is about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"Officers arrived, noticed some suspicious evidence, blood on the porch of the location," Det. Rich Hunt told CBS Los Angeles. He said Newburn's apartment door was open and officers found the victim's body in the main living area. The San Bernardino County Coroner said Newburn, 32, had "sustained trauma and was pronounced dead at 4:38 p.m."

KTLA, Los Angeles' CW-affiliated station, reports that the alleged murderer may have tried to escape through a window in Newburn's apartment.

Newburn's cause of death is currently unknown.

Witnesses told police that they saw a bare-chested man leave the victim's apartment in what they think was Newburn's car. The car is described as a black, four-door 2004 Mercedes C240 sedan with the California license plate 7AAY925. KTLA reports a man was seen leaving the home clothes and a computer.

Neighbors told the news station they did not know Newburn was transgender.

"She was very quiet, very nice and you just would never have thought something like this would happen," neighbor Ronald Jackson told CBS Los Angeles.

Newburn starred in "Hollywood Houseboys," a YouTube series about gay and transgender friends. According to CBS Los Angeles, Newburn was described as an aspiring actress who was undergoing gender reassignment.

On the "Hollywood Houseboys" site, Newburn wrote that she was born "Daymond" but began wearing woman's clothes when she was 22. She also wrote she has been using hormone shots and hoped to have her gender reassignment surgery and "be the first trans-gender to one day have a hit song on iTunes."

The producer of the series, Ryan Hope, issues a statement to the Huffington Post:

"We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our sister, Domonique Newburn. Domonique was an amazing person whose spirit transcended gender. When we set-out to document our lives for reality-television...we never once wished to make headlines like this. Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with her family."

The suspect has been described as black, in his late 20s to early 30s, 5-feet 8-inches tall, with an average build.

Police say they don't think Newburn's death was a hate crime but the motive is currently unclear. Officials are currently investigating the incident.

Watch an episode of "Hollywood Houseboys" below: