2018-01-10 18:17:20 UTC
Breaking News - MassLive.com
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, founder of Miss Trans America, stabbed and beaten to death: What we know
Posted January 08, 2018 at 11:53 AM | Updated January 08, 2018 at 02:54 PM
By Michelle Williams, MassLive
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, the founder of the Miss Trans America pageant, was found stabbed and beaten to death inside her Western Massachusetts home on Friday. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Her death was ruled a homicide following an autopsy conducted over the weekend. The preliminary results of the autopsy indicate Steele-Knudslien died as the result of loss of blood, Dr. Robert Welton, an associate medical examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke, said in a statement.
Steele-Knudslien suffered a stab wound to her torso and blunt force trauma to her head.
She was found Friday evening inside her home by North Adams police.
The investigation into her death was opened after her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, walked into the Adams Police Department headquarters Friday evening.
Steele-Knudslien reportedly told police he had done "something very bad," and deserved to be arrested. He reportedly told police he and his wife had gotten into an argument and he "snapped," striking her with a hammer and stabbing her with a knife.
He was charged with murder on Friday and held without bail over the weekend. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Northern Berkshire District Court Monday morning.
He is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 7.
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, was an active member of the transgender community, the founder of both the Miss Trans America and Miss Trans New England pageants.
She spoke out last year on Nov. 20 - Transgender Day of Remembrance - in recognition of the dozens of transgender people killed in 2017 and years prior.
She is the first known transgender person to be killed this year, according to GLAAD.
Little information is currently known about the motive behind her violent death.
The couple married and began living together in recent years, moving in 2017 from Adams to North Adams.
Christa documented on social media renovations of the home they shared.
While Christa expressed on social media as recently as the holidays that they were happy together, she also posted of struggles with Mark.
"My husband and I are going to try to work things out," Christa wrote on Facebook last January.
Prior to their move to North Adams last year, police in Adams recalled several instances when officers were called to the couple's home for "neighborhood" issues, the Berkshire Eagle reported.
Her death remains under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office, members of the North Adams and Adams Police Departments and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section.