FONTANA (CBSLA.com) — A vigil was held Wednesday in memory of a transgender woman found murdered inside her Fontana apartment Tuesday.
The body of Domonique Newburn was found around 4:30 p.m. at a complex in the 7900 block of Bennett Avenue, Fontana police said.
Authorities said Wednesday it appeared the woman was beaten to death.
“Officers arrived, noticed some suspicious evidence, blood on the porch of the location,” Detective Rich Hunt said.
The unit’s front door was open and officers discovered the 32-year-old dead in the main living area, Hunt said.
Newburn had “sustained trauma and was pronounced dead at 4:38 p.m.,” the San Bernardino County Coroner said.
On Wednesday evening, friends, family and transgender advocates gathered to demand justice in Newburn’s murder.
KCAL9’s Tom Wait attended the vigil and spoke to Newburn’s friends who were, of course, devastated.
Wait says good friends celebrated Newburn’s life with complete strangers. Many knew him as Daymond Watford.
“He was a good person, he didn’t deserve this,” said one close friend before breaking down.
“He was cool, he was just a regular guy,” said Tony Brown, a longtime friend.
Brown and his sister were friends with Newburn. Brown also said his sister spoke to Newburn by phone on Tuesday afternoon just before being murdered.
“We was going to hang out with him. He had just texted my sister. He was cool. It’s really sad that somebody killed him,” said Brown.
Police believe there was a violent struggle inside the apartment. There was blood splatter on one wall, a hole in another.
Neighbors saw her lifeless body.
Newburn appeared on an internet reality show called “Hollywood Houseboys” — on the show Newburn described what it’s like to make the transition from man to woman.
It’s not clear if being transgender played any role in her murder — her friends worry it might have been a cause.
Her friends stuck by her no matter what.
“Imagine if you had a friend from junior high and then they changed. That was the lifestyle he chose, it might not have been my choice, but that was Daymond,” said Brown.
Police recovered the victim’s car in a park in San Bernardino Wednesday.
Witnesses told police that they saw a bare-chested man leaving the apartment in Newburn’s vehicle.
The suspect was described as black, in his late 20s to early 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with an average build.
Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact the Fontana Police Department.