April 18, 2016 at 7:13 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. trans woman murdered in Rockville hotel
Keyonna Monroe Blakeney, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo courtesy Facebook)

Montgomery County, Md., police are appealing for help from the public in their investigation into the April 16 murder of a 22-year-old transgender woman who was found dead in her room at the Red Roof Inn hotel in Rockville.

The victim, who identified herself on her Facebook page as Keyonna Monroe Blakeney, was found to have suffered trauma to her upper body by fire and rescue personnel and officers with the Rockville City Police, who were called to the scene by the hotel, according to a statement by Montgomery County police.

The statement says the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the death as a homicide.

“Investigators believe that Keyonna was assaulted and killed in her hotel room in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 16,” the statement says. “Detectives have information that Keyonna may have been engaging in prostitution at the Red Roof Inn at that time,” the statement says.

“Detectives are urging anyone who may have information regarding the murder of Keyonna to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070,” according to the police statement. “For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s).”

It says Crime Solvers can be reached at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

On her Facebook page Blakeney stated she was from Upper Marlboro, Md., but had been living most recently in D.C. The Facebook page says she had been working as a makeup artist and had studied at Bowie State University.

Blakeney’s murder comes at a time when transgender rights advocates have expressed alarm over an increasing number of murders of trans women over the past several years throughout the country.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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