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Gender-variant youth found murdered on Chicago's West Side

CHICAGO -- A 19-year-old found dead in an abandoned building in the South Austin neighborhood late Tuesday night has been identified as a gender-variant youth, according to a community outreach provider who is familiar with them.

The victim, Donta Gooden, 19, was identified as a male by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office Wednesday afternoon. Gooden suffered several stabbing and incised wounds, which led officials to rule the death as a homicide. The Medical Examiner’s office said there were no indications that Gooden identified as transgender.

Brian Turner, an outreach coordinator at Taskforce Prevention and Community Services on the city’s West Side, however, confirmed that Gooden was gender-variant and went by “Tiffany.” He could not confirm whether or not Gooden ever sought services from the Taskforce or identified as transgender, but was saddened by the loss.

“This is like my third child in less then a six month timeframe,” Turner said, referring to the loss of two other queer youth.

Gooden’s body was found three blocks away from where a young transgender woman, Paige Clay, was found dead April 16 — in an abandoned building in the 4800 block of West Jackson Boulevard, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala. Police said the body was identified as a female and was found on the second floor of the building around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday after officers were called to perform a wellness check at the building, Zala said.

Turner could not comment further Wednesday night. Detectives are investigating, police said.

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Tony Merevick is the Editor-in-chief and co-founder of Chicago Phoenix.