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Transgender Woman Found Stabbed To Death On West Side

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the second time in four months, a transgender woman has been killed on the West Side.

CBS 2's Brad Edwards reports the 19-year-old victim was found dead Tuesday night in an abandoned building on the 4800 block of West Jackson Boulevard in the South Austin neighborhood.

Neighbors said the building had been empty since the owners passed away.

"They said it was a male dressed like a female that they found in the house," neighbor John Rodgers said.

Authorities said Tiffany Gooden, a transgender woman who was born male as Donta Gooden, was stabbed to death.

Neighbors said such crimes against transgender women are not uncommon in the area. Rodgers said there are a lot of transgender women who work as prostitutes in the West Side area known as K-Town.

"In K-Town, it's a lot of transvestites over there, and they do what they do. I mean, I don't have anything against them, but … a lot of prostitution," he said.

Gooden's body was found just three blocks away from where Paige Clay, another transgender woman, was found dead in April.

Clay, 23, was found shot and killed in an alley in the 4500 block of West Jackson Boulevard in the neighboring West Garfield Park neighborhood.

The two victims had strikingly similar backstories.

June LaTrobe, public policy director of the transgender activist group Illinois Gender Advocates, said transgender women of color "are the most vulnerable members of our community."

LaTrobe said, sometimes there are very little opportunities for such women, because, "sometimes the obstacles are just unbelievable."

"Here is someone murdered for simply being themselves. It gets … frustrating doesn't even quite put it," she added.

Rick Garcia, a longtime LGBT activist with The Civil Rights Agenda, said, "oftentimes when folks like this are murdered or brutalized, it's, 'Well, you know, they brought it on themselves,' or 'What do you expect?'"

Garcia was working with police to make sure these two victims, and others like them, aren't re-victimized by not being priority cases.

Police visited some nearby businesses in hopes surveillance cameras might have captured relevant images.

Police said they're investigating both cases, and believe the two murders are unrelated crimes.

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