Caelee Love-Light


UPDATE: Dallas Voice has been contacted by Johna Reynolds, the mother of Javin Casillas, who told us that Casillas had befriended Caelee Love-Light and had given

Javin Casillas

her a place to live. Reynolds said she has police reports indicating that Love-Light had attacked Casillas, who was disabled, stabbing him, and that he shot her in self defense.

“I would like to set the record straight that my son is not a murderer,” Reynolds said. “Everyone loved my son.”

Dallas Voice has requested a copy of the police report from the Phoenix Police Department.

An obituary for Casillas was found online: “Javin Ray Casillas, 47 of Phoenix, Arizona died December 17, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born December 21, 1974 in Phoenix, Arizona to Ramon D. Casillas and Johna K. Reynolds. He was preceded in death by his father, Ramon D. Casillas. He is survived by his mother Johna and her partner Patrick Bray, sister, Sierra Rose Merenda and her husband Russell, nephew Giovanni Ray Merenda, niece Rita Rose Merenda, and his extended family and friends.”

ORIGINAL POST: Transgender Latina Caelee Love-Light, 27, possibly a Dallas native, was found dead last week at the site of an apparent altercation inside a car in Phoenix, according to Sue Kerr with Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspodents blog.

Kerr reports that Love-Light died of gunshot wounded received during an altercation with a man also found in the car. The man, Kerr said, had been stabbed several times and later died of his injuries at a nearby hospital. He has been identified as Javin Casillas, 47.

Phoenix police reports indicate that officers were called to the scene at about 3:25 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, to investigate an “unknown trouble” call. When they arrived, they found the wounded man and “an unresponsive woman” in the car. The woman, Love-Light, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kerr wrote, “Sadly, mainstream media has focused on the ‘gun and knife battle’ element of the story rather than the lives of the people who died. We don’t know what happened in that car, but given what we know generally, and what I’ve learned from Caelee’s friends, it is likely that she was defending herself. … I guess the headline is too seductive when reporting on yet another seeming interpersonal violence incident. We don’t know why they were in the car together, the nature of their association, or who did what. If there is any evidence from inside the car like a dash cam or footage on a cell phone, that’s not been made public. Will there even be an investigation?”

Kerr said Love-Light’s friends told her the trans woman was born May 17, 1995, in Texas to a father of Mexican descent and a white mother, and that Love-Light identified as Latina. Friends said she relocated from Texas to Portland, Ore., where she legally changed her name and gender markers, and then, at a later date, moved to Phoenix. On social media, she used the names “Baby Goddess” and “Candy Geisha.”

Caelee Love-Light is at least the 40th transgender person to die violently in 2022, according to Kerr. (Human Rights campaign reports at least 35.)

Friends said Love-Light’s parents are both deceased and that they don’t expect any of her remaining family to acknowledge her gender identity. Kerr said it is unclear what if any final arrangements will be made, ending her report with, “Who will say her name? … May your memory be a revolution.”

— Tammye Nash