Jamie Wounded Arrow Murder: Where is Joshua Rayvon LeClaire Now?

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Tragedy struck the city of Sioux Falls in South Dakota in the early days of January 2017 when Jamie Wounded Arrow, a young transwoman and member of the Native American community, was found dead at her residence. With no immediate evidence in sight, a wave of mystery loomed her sudden death. However, after pulling out all stops, the authorities were finally able to zero in on the suspect and bring him to justice.

Oxygen’s ‘Final Moments: New Year’s Murder’ delves into the intricacies of the tragic case and details the investigative process, highlighting the evidence obtained and possible motives of the killer alongside his identity with the help of interviews of the authorities involved in the investigation and apprehension of the perpetrator.

How Did Jamie Wounded Arrow Die?

The beloved daughter of Horace Wounded Arrow and Charlene Blackhorse, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, was welcomed into the world on January 20, 1988. She originally hailed from the Pine Ridge Reservation in Oglala Lakota County, in the southwestern part of South Dakota. Jamie was a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and grew up amidst the care, affection, and support of her siblings, parents, and loved ones. The 28-year-old was a proud two-spirit (an umbrella term used by Native American/First Nations communities) transgender woman who was never afraid to embrace her identity and sense of self.

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Those who knew Jamie described her as a free-spirited, warm-hearted, and loving woman who was always ready to extend a helping hand to the ones in need. Due to her magnetic and friendly personality, she had a lot of friends with whom she loved to spend time when she wasn’t working. At the time of the incident, Jamie was fairly new to Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County. Thriving in sobriety, she had been working in the healthcare industry with the aspiration of becoming an Addictions Counsellor. Jamie was an active member of The Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies group that focused on the betterment of the Two-Spirit individuals.

According to reports, Jamie was in talks to join the TransAction South Dakota, a non-profit organization that worked to “educate, raise awareness, understanding and acceptance of transgender people” in the state. The young woman was quite active on social media wherein she shared snippets from her life and quotes she could relate to. Jamie was adored by everyone in her life; therefore, her sudden death in the first week of 2017 came as a shock to everyone in the community. On January 6, 2017, neighbors of Jamie were alarmed by a strong odor emitting from her residence on 8th Street and North Cleveland Avenue and requested the Sioux Falls police for a welfare check.

When the authorities arrived, they were greeted by a horrific sight as they found Jamie dead with multiple stab wounds in her body. A quick search of her place didn’t yield considerable results as far as evidence and the identity of the killer were concerned but the police were able to rule her death a homicide. It was believed that Jamie was the state’s first-ever transgender homicide victim. Due to a lack of evidence, an investigation was launched by the authorities to quickly nab the perpetrator/s behind the murder of Jamie Wounded Arrow⁣

Who Killed Jamie Wounded Arrow?

When the investigators dug deeper into the life of Jamie Wounded Arrow, especially around the time of her murder, they found a person of interest — Joshua Rayvon LeClaire. Joshua and Jamie reportedly met each other at a Sioux Falls halfway house, after which they remained in contact. Upon looking at the security camera footage, the police noticed Jamie entering her apartment building around 8:30 pm on New Year’s Eve of 2016. Several hours later, around 3:30 am in the morning of January 1, 2017, Joshua was seen making his way into her building as well, wearing a black hoodie, white shorts, and white tennis shoes. He walked past Jamie’s apartment door. He then proceeded to walk around outside the building and tapped on her window to enter her house.

Over an hour later, around 4:40 am, Joshua left the apartment wearing the same hoodie but different pants and shoes, with another pair of shoes in his hands. During his stay, Joshua reportedly stabbed Jamie to death for reasons yet to be uncovered. In the footage, he could be seen throwing a few items into a wooded area near Jamie’s apartment, including a pair of shoes and Jamie’s wallet, both of which were covered in snow by the time the authorities got their hands on them. Reportedly, Joshua even got rid of the bloodied black hoodie in a nearby construction zone, which was also retrieved by the police. Upon testing Jamie’s body along with these recovered items, they found Joshua’s blood on Jamie and on the bloodied hoodie.

With enough incriminating evidence at their disposal, the police arrested the 27-year-old suspect, who was found at a laundromat, a couple of days after the murder. After looking into Joshua’s lengthy rap sheet, they learned that he had already served time in prison for burglary as well as simple assault. During the interview with the investigators, Joshua claimed that he was intoxicated on the night of Jamie’s murder and had blacked out for several hours, only to wake up in the morning at Meldrum Park with a cut to his hand, which was evident at the time of the interrogation.

When asked how Joshua got the cut, he alleged that Jamie struck him first when he denied her sexual advances. But one of the detectives said with experience that the cut was not of defense. Talking about the prospect of it being a hate crime, the lead detective of the case stated, “I know there’s a lot of concerns that this was a hate crime. Nothing that we’ve seen in our investigation looking at social media or the contacts confirms that for us in this point of time.”

Where is Joshua Rayvon LeClaire Now?

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In January 2018, over a year after Jamie’s untimely demise, Joshua Rayvon LeClaire pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case of the transgender woman. In June of the same year, he was sentenced to 65 years in prison, with him being eligible for parole when he would complete about 65 percent of his 65 years. The family members of the victim were happy with the long sentence, while Joshua apologized for his behavior, saying, “I didn’t mean any of this,” he said. “Nobody deserves such a tragic…” After a short pause, he continued, “I’m not a bad person. This case wasn’t intentional. I wish I handled the situation differently. I ask for (another) chance at life.” Currently, he is serving his sentence behind bars at South Dakota State Penitentiary at 1600 North Drive in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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