Father of transgender woman killed shares his pain

Cathalina James' dad says she was likely killed over 'the life she lived'

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The father of one of three transgender women killed in Jacksonville this year is speaking out about his loss.

Cathalina James, was found dead June 24 at the Quality Inn on Dix Ellis Trail, off Baymeadows Road. 

"It’s a deep hurt. I feel like no parent should ever have to bury a child, and that’s what I had to do. So it’s hard," Donald James said.

Cathalina James, the third black transgender woman shot and killed in Jacksonville since February, would’ve been 25 years old Sunday. According to The Advocate, she was the 13th homicide of a transgender person in the United States this year.

Cathalina’s father said she lived in South Carolina, but was visiting Jacksonville. He has no idea who would’ve shot his daughter.

"I really feel like, just because of who she was and the life she lived, as far as transgender life, that’s why she lost her life," Donald James said.

While none of the three cases have been solved, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office did release a sketch last week of a possible suspect in James' slaying.

"My daughter, Cathalina, was a fun person, a loving person ... would do anything to help anybody. Very outgoing and loved to have fun ... would do anything to help anybody," the grieving father said.

Donald James said her family in South Carolina will celebrate her birthday with a balloon release in her memory. 

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