CHICAGO, IL -- In what appears to be one of the most brutal hate crimes in years, Christian Paige, a beautiful 24 year old transexual woman, was found was savagely murdered in her apartment, Friday, March 22, at 10 PM.
Ms. Paige had been brutally beaten about the head and ears, then strangled, and finally stabbed deeply in her chest and breast area between 15 and 2 dozen times.
Prior to fleeing the scene, her assailant set fire to the apartment only a few feet from her prostrate body, apparently in an attempt to destroy evidence. Her body had been so savagely assaulted that some friends at first believed she had been deliberately mutilated.
Ms. Paige, a native of Nashville, TN, had only recently moved to Chicago where she was working to save money towards sex reassignment surgery. She was employed at Chicago's trendy downtown Baton Lounge, where she was well regarded. She had already had a highly successful career in clubs as a former Miss Gay Nashville and Miss Midwestern Continental.
Ms. Paige's body was discovered when the Chicago Fire Department responded to reports of arson at her residence at about 10:00 that evening. The premises, which Ms. Paige shared with two friends, was also ransacked and valuables were stolen.
A Demonstration/Vigil Planned
Members of the Chicago chapter of the direct action group The Transexual Menace have planned a demonstration/vigil for the Friday preceding the 2 month anniversary of Christian Paige's murder.
Activists are seeking to the protest the savageness of Ms. Paige's murder, focus public attention on trans-related violence, and remind people (including the police) that her murderer is still walking the streets of Chicago.
The demonstration, tentatively planned for the morning of Friday, May 17, will start from the Baton Lounge where Ms. Paige worked and proceed 6 blocks to Daly Center where the PD and City Hall are located. Said one member of the Menace, "People must be made aware, every time one of us goes in the ground, there WILL be a response. Trans-related violence has got to stop."
Details from the Chicago PD
Chicago PD Detective Gildea, who was assigned to Ms. Paige's case, was interviewed over the phone only days ago by Deputy-Sheriff Tonye Barreto-Neto of TOPS, the national group for transgender peace officers.
Gildea noted that all Ms. Paige's stab wounds were so deep and severe that any single one would have been sufficient to kill her. In addition, preliminary results showed no defensive wounds on her body, consistent with a theory that she was struck unconscious from multiple blows to her head prior to being strangled and stabbed.
Police told Windy City Times reporter Lisa Neef that the murder is not being investigated as a hate crime. Their initial report that the victim was a "white female" was later amended to that of "white male."
Ms. Paige had apparently met her alleged assailant through a telephone dating service only a few days before. She told roommates she had spoken with him twice by phone on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to her murder, eventually making a date with him for 8:30 PM Friday evening, the 22nd.
Police discovered glasses in her apartment still on the table where the two of them had apparently shared a drink together before she was killed. Unfortunately, the fire destroyed any fingerprints and police are still trying trace her alleged assailant through the dating service phone records.
Mourned and Remembered in Nashville
Said one of her best friends, Marisa Richmond of Tennessee Vals, "Nashville is a community that is still in a state of shock. Everybody, whether they knew Christian or not, is crying either on the outside or inside. All of us cared about her because she was so genuinely likable."
"I'd be hard pressed to think of another person who enjoyed life and just liked people. It's hard to fathom that somebody who liked to see people laugh and smile so much could bring so many tears, but that is how much we were touched by her."
Ms. Paige's body was flown back to Nashville, where it was buried last week. She is survived by an older sister and her mother, both of whom attended her funeral.