Authorities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are investigating the death of a Black transgender woman who was found dead on Sept. 16.
According to the Pittsburgh City Paper, Elisha Chanel Stanley, better known as Elisha Diamond, was discovered dead in downtown Pittsburgh at around 6:30 p.m. last night, and the circumstances of her death remain unknown. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner has yet to release a cause of death; however, some online conversations have sparked accusations of foul play.
DeVar Ferguson, a close friend of Stanley’s since the ’90s, told the City Paper that Stanley was expected at a gathering on Saturday, but never showed up.
“The detectives are working as hard as they can, but even with that being said, I have questions because she is a trans woman,” Ferguson told the news site. “Are they really pushing as hard as they would were she a born biological woman?”
Ferguson described Stanley as their “gay mother.”
“People don’t really understand where that term comes from,” Ferguson added. “There are a lot of runaways, and displaced and abused people in the community. Without being funded by any government organization, there are people [in this community] who have taken these people on and moved them in, clothed them, fed them, taken them to school, and really played that part as a mentor in their lives and those are all the things she did for me.”
The Public Information Officer For Pittsburgh’s Department of Safety, Chris Tongeri, confirmed that there is currently an open investigation into Stanley’s death, but declined to provide further details.
If Stanely’s death turns out to be a result of foul play, she would be the 19 trans Black woman in the United States to be killed, and the 20th trans person overall.
[Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Stanley is the 19 trans Black woman in the United States to be killed, and the 20th trans person overall. That statement was included in error. Authorities have not yet confirmed Stanley’s cause of death.]