Earlier in my life, I lived in Joplin, MO. This story makes me shudder.
Ally Lee Steinfeld, 17, of Houston, Missouri came out as a transgender girl in May. In June, she posted on Instagram:
I am proud to be me. I am proud to be trans. I am beautiful. I don't care what people think.
Last week, Ally's burned remains were found in a pit and in a bag inside in a chicken coop near a mobile home in which she was staying in Cabol, Ozarks. Four young people have been charged in connection with her death. 24-year-old Briana Calderas, who was the primary resident of the abode and who was dating Ally, was arrested and charged with first degree murder, along with Andre Vrba and his girlfriend Isis Schauer, both 18. Vrba and Shauer were also living in the mobile home. Those three, along with James Grigsby, 25, were also charged with abandoning a body and tampering with evidence.
The two women had told authorities that Vrba was allegedly responsible for gouging out Steinfeld's eyes, stabbing her in the genitals and bragging about the killing.
We honestly don't understand why they done it,' Boswell said. It just don't make any sense.
--Ashleigh Boswell, sister of the victim
Steinfeld has been described as 'a very loving, outgoing person' who 'didn't like conflict whatsoever.'
Local constabulary say they do not consider the killing to be a hate crime.
Steinfeld was reported missing by her family on September 1. Steinfeld was officially declared missing on September 14. Vrba has admitted that the murder took place on September 3, three days before Steinfeld's eighteenth birthday. Vrba has told police he initially tried to poison Steinfeld, but she wouldn't drink the poison, so he grabbed a knife and stabbed her. He says he then gouged her eyes out before stabbing her in the genitals. Then Grigsby was called and the four suspects burned the body, placed some of the bones in a garbage bag and put the bag in a chicken coop.
Calderas admitted to helping burn the body and led authorities to the knife.
I still don’t know who in their right minds would do something like that. Killing someone is very bad, but I mean to do it ... oh my God, to do it like that. Just ... I ... I ... oh, God. I just can’t even see someone doing that.
People kill each other, which is bad, but to do it that way, that's something you see in movies. And the three people who did this, they were kids, too.
--Linda Camara, friend of the Steinfeld family
Steinfeld was engaged until the couple broke up in August. She then began dating Calderas. Steinfeld dropped out of high school in 2016 and his family moved to House Springs, MO, near St. Louis.
The four suspects are being held without bond.
Steinfeld is the 21st transgender person known to be murdered in 2017.
A benefit account has been created at Enterprise Bank in Cedar Hill, Mo., according to Mary Mollard, an employee at the bank.
The account is in Joseph Steinfeld’s name, Mollard said. Those interested can contact the bank to make a donation to the family.
Deadnamed to the end.