4 months after transgender woman’s homicide, family asks for compassion and understanding

Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – June 24th marked four months since Jenna Franks’ homicide.

The family that is continuing to grieve said they have hope in the investigation. As for now, they are asking the community for compassion and understanding.

Jenna Franks sisters, Amber Franks and Heidi Crisco, say some of the comments posted on articles about their sister are filled with hate.

It’s whenever a news station does a story there is just so many people commenting these hateful things.

Heidi Crisco, Jenna Franks sister

They both say it is time for change in communities, and that they hope some sort of understanding will prevent situations like what happened to their sister in the future. Leaders from the local organization Onslow LGBTQ+ Community Center and Equality NC agree.

In a group discussion Onslow LGBTQ+ Center leaders Dennis Biancuzzo (bottom right,) Lillith Campos (bottom left,) and Equality NC’s Tiffany Kearse (top left) say ‘cultural humility’ is something that needs to happen within communities.

They say it is important to have difficult conversations, even if it makes people uncomfortable. Campos said if people do not stand up against the hate, it will create a dangerous snowball effect.

Campos, a transgender woman, shared that she hears transphobic slurs when out in Onslow County. She said it is to a point where she and her family are scared for her to go out.

Kearse calls the situation ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘disgusting.’ She said people need to pay more attention to who they are voting for so all people are protected. All three are also calling on local elected officials to make a statement on Jenna Franks’ homicide.

The Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center is offering classes for the general public to attend and educate themselves. Biancuzzo also said they have trained Onslow school social workers, One Place workers and those at the PEERS center in Jacksonville.

LINKS TO OUTREACH AND EDUCATION

Onslow LGBTQ+ Community Center

Equality NC

GET INVOLVED: ENC Equality NC Crew

The Trevor Project

A Jacksonville Public Safety spokesperson said they continue to work on Jenna’s case daily. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Charlotte office is also assisting. They are currently offering a $15,000 reward for any information that could assist investigators.

Regarding the case, officials with Jacksonville Public Safety said in a statement provided to 9OYS:

“Jenna’s body was found on February 24, 2021, near Ellis Boulevard and White Street. Investigators are asking the public for information to determine what happened to her and to arrest the person(s) responsible.

“The FBI has offered up to $10,000 for information determined to be valuable to law enforcement or information leading to arrest. Crime Stoppers and Jacksonville Police have added up to $2,500 each for a total reward amount of $15,000.

Anyone with information is asked to contact JPD Detective Scott Eichelberger at 910-938-6440 or seichelberger@jacksonvillenc.gov or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273 or the FBI in Charlotte at 704-672-6100.

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