In 1995 the body of a young woman was found at the bottom of a second-floor stairwell of a building in Manhattan, New York. She died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Her name was Alana Kela. She was a transgender showgirl born in Kauai, Hawaii and raised in Honolulu. She came from a loving and accepting family but chose to leave Hawaii for Chicago, Illinois to start her career as a nightclub entertainer. Kela was set cast at The Baton Show Lounge in Chicago, known for her Tahitian dance styling; referring to herself as a "hula girl" on an appearance she did on an episode of Jenny Jones in 1992.
Alana was also an accomplished model and pageant competitor. She modeled alongside Candi Stratton for Starra, a clothing boutique catered to transgender women and cross-dressing men. As a pageant competitor, Alana placed second alternate in Miss Continental and performed a hula dance at Miss Florida in 1988 (see clip below). Clips of Alana competing in Miss Continental can be seen in the new documentary, The Queens, directed by Mark Saxenmeyer.
Not much is known to the public about Alana's death; I've found rumors online that she was murdered on her porch with a shotgun while wearing a nightgown and I've read comments saying she was shot with a handgun as she stepped out of a cab in New York City, but those are false. Kela was found dead on a second floor landing in an unknown building (to the public) in Manhattan, New York. My best guess is that it was an apartment building, but it hasn't been clarified. Some believe that Alana was the victim of one of her clients-to earn money, like most trans women do, Kela was a high-paid escort. It is believed that this particular client was infatuated with Alana; wanting more than to be a paying client-Alana wasn't interested. He may have been stalking her, ultimately surprising her at the top of the second floor of the building; shooting her with the reasoning "if I can't have you, no one will" but this hasn't been substantiated. With no DNA and a "mysterious man in a black coat who hung around the crime scene before and after" not being questioned, it's hard to tell if the case will ever be solved.
Another theory is that Alana relocated to New York to re-start her career as a madam of her own escort service. Cunning, she stole a client list from a rival, more successful agency and when it was discovered that she would be attracting this rival's big customers, Kela was taken out by either the madam or one of her escorts. This also cannot be substantiated.