Transgender Woman Found Dead, Beaten in Maryland Hotel Room

The person found dead this weekend in a hotel room in Rockville, Maryland was a transgender woman who may have been working as a prostitute, police said.

Keyonna Blakeney, 22, was found dead, with trauma to the upper body, in a room of the Red Roof Inn on Shady Grove Road, Montgomery County police said.

Blakeney's body was found about 11:50 a.m. Saturday. Police said they believe she was killed early that morning and ruled her death a homicide. 

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Court records show Blakeney was arrested at a hotel in Capitol Heights, Maryland, on April 3 and charged with committing a third-degree sex offense against a 14-year-old boy. Additional information on that alleged crime was not available immediately. 

Blakeney's Facebook page says she was from Upper Marlboro, attended Bowie State University and celebrated her birthday just days before she was killed. She worked as a makeup artist, the profile says.

Another transgender woman, Zella Ziona, 21, was shot and killed in Montgomery County in Oct. 2015. A man police said had been her friend, Rico Hector Leblond, was charged with first-degree murder.

At the time, prosecutors said they could not recall another deadly attack on a transgender person in the county.

Transgender people face an increased rate of violence, and more transgender people were killed in 2015 -- 21 people -- than in any other year on record, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy organization.

Anyone with information on Blakeney's murder is asked to call police at 240-773-5070 or, to remain anonymous, 1-866-411-TIPS. A reward of as much as $10,000 is offered.

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