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Transgender woman victim of murder in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—A 25-year-old Sioux Falls man has been arrested in the apparent killing of a transgender woman in her northeast Sioux Falls apartment.

Joshua Rayvon LeClaire has been taken into custody as the suspect in the murder of Jamie Lee WoundedArrow, 28, said Lt. Michael Colwill of the Sioux Falls police department on Sunday.

Her body was discovered Friday night about 9:15 p.m. when police were called to the apartment near East 8th Street and Cleveland Avenue where a juvenile neighbor called police to report a strong odor coming from the apartment.

Police found WoundedArrow, who had moved to Sioux Falls about six months ago, dead in the apartment.

Police originally described WoundedArrow as a man in an initial report.

LeClaire was arrested as a parole absconder and on narcotics charges, Colwill said Sunday, but that he faces the additional charges in the killing that would be filed early this week.

Colwill said the investigation is ongoing and that additional information would be released on Monday morning.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there were 21 killings of transgender men and women in the United States in each of the past two years—the most ever recorded.

The campaign's website said the transgender people were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, but although some cases involved anti-transgender bias, others did not.

However, the website said those who died ranging in age from 16 to 43 were disproportionately transgender women of color who face the intersections of "racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia" which deprive them of jobs, housing and healthcare, barriers that make them more vulnerable. The website lists all of the transgender men and women who died last year and describes the incidents.

It is the first murder in Sioux Falls this year.