Friday evening police were called to a Sioux Falls apartment building because a juvenile reported a strong odor emanating from a neighbor's apartment. Investigators discovered the body of Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a 28-year-old transgender woman. She reportedly had been stabbed to death.

Ms. Wounded Arrow was an Oglala Lakota who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

A vigil was held outside the building on Saturday evening.

We need justice and we will get it.

I’m still in shock. I keep thinking she’s going to text me or come up here.

I always judge myself more severely than everyone around me. She made me feel like I could be myself.

--Franklin Whiting, Jr, friend and neighbor

Reina Parker, youth outreach director for the Center of Equality, a Sioux Falls-based nonprofit that advocates for LGBT rights, met Wounded Arrow at a Native American LGBT event six months ago.

Wounded Arrow identified as a transgender woman, friends said, and while she had struggles in life, family and her passions, she gave off an energy can came from a place of strength.

She is the type of person that when she talks people stop to listen,” Parker said. “The impact she leaves on people after meeting her once is something nobody forgets.


Wounded Arrow grew up and graduated on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and moved to Sioux Falls about a year ago, friends said. She worked at Five Star Call Center, a customer service organization. One of her favorite places to spend time was the library, friends said.

Our thoughts and love go out to Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow and her family. 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people in America with more than 25 reported transgender murders and a majority of those were trans women of color. This marks the second trans woman murdered in 2017, and it happened in our own back yard. While the investigation is ongoing, we see that gender and race often play a role in the escalation of violence toward transgender people.

--Danielle Wilcox, The Center for Equality

Joshua Rayvon LeClaire was arrested Sunday morning and charged with parole violation. He is expected to be charged with murder later today.

Police say they do not believe this was a hate crime...based solely on the fact that it appears the suspect and victim were acquainted.

We were able to see on some of this video that he entered the victim’s apartment in the early morning hours of January 1st. It appears he was allowed in. I think the victim and Joshua Rayvon LeClaire were at least acquainted. There was no forced entry.

--SFPD Captain Blaine Larsen

Wounded Arrow was misgendered in early reports of the crime.

Tunkasila has called another one of our community members home. Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow. She was fairly new to Sioux Falls. Originally from the Pine Ridge indian reservation and a proud Oglala Lakota trans woman... our hearts are broken as we will miss her very much. So again, prayers are needed. Pilamaye.

--Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies

There is a GoFundMe campaign




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