Missouri Bisexual Woman and Her Mother Murdered By Homophobe In Suspected Hate Crime

Authorities are investigating the double homicide of a mother and daughter in Camden County, Missouri as a anti-LGBT hate crime, according to Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

Teresa Jackson, 61, and her daughter Danielle Smith, 27, were found dead in the remains of their burnt trailer home on August 29th. Autopsies confirm they were both killed before their home was set on fire. On September 3rd their neighbor, 54-year-old Steven Endsley was arrested for their murders and arson.

smith

Witnesses told police Endsley had an “ongoing disagreement” with Smith about her sexual orientation and for that reason, local police and the FBI are investigating their murders as a hate crime.

Endsley was charged with six felony charges:  two counts of the Class A Felony of 1st Degree Murder, two counts of Felony Armed Criminal Action, one count of the Class B Felony of 1st Degree Burglary, and one count of the Class C Felony of 2nd Degree Arson. He is being held without bond and will appear before the court on October 4th. If found guilty of a hate crime, Endsley faces even harsher penalties.

A local Missouri news website, LakeExpo.com, who obtained court documents, reported Endsley sent a series of anti-gay texts in the hours before the women were killed. They also report Endsley had a troubled history with Jackson and Smith, with records showing deputies responding to disturbances at their homes multiple times. Dannielle’s sister Heather Smith told local TV news station KSPR that Endsley harassed her sister for months. “Nine months of him throwing fire crackers at her house or trailer, calling her names, even harassing her friends that would come and visit,” she says.

A GoFundMe page was setup by Heather Smith to help with funeral costs. They’ve raised half of their $6,000 goal. From the page:

Here we are, raising money for Danielle and Terri. We are saddened to have lost 2 amazing people that loved everyone. Danielle would always do what she could to help someone else, if she was able, without question. Our hearts are broken by the loss of Danielle and Terri. I am only asking people to help with what you can. I want to make sure they have a proper service. As her sister, this is the last thing I thought I would have to do. As her sister, I want to make sure that she and Terri are taken care of properly.  Thank you for any help that you can give.

UPDATE Sept. 13th, 2:55 PST: The article has been updated to reflect that Danielle Smith identified as bisexual and not lesbian as the headline originally stated. From Lake News Online: “Statements given by friends to investigators said Danielle ‘lived a bisexual lifestyle.’ That seemed to be the catalyst for the harassment.”

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her heart like Selena and tacos. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and has since written and edited lots of gay stuff for the internet. Yvonne calls the borderlands home, strongly identifies with her Scorpio moon sign, and really hopes to crush the patriarchy soon. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

Yvonne S. has written 202 articles for us.

14 Comments

    • When I donated, it looked like the GoFundMe page got stuck after I submitted it, but a confirmation came through to my email and it worked. This is so deeply sad and the extra hard part of what it costs afterwords – so worth helping at least relieve a bit of that.

  1. I’m still not sure why this hasn’t gained more national momentum…hell, or even regional momentum. This whole story is absolutely horrific. I live about an hour and a half away (shudder) and people around here like to posit Missouri as part of the South but not as bigoted (toward gays…they gave up trying to pretend Missouri’s not racist). And honestly, as someone who lived in an actual Southern state for a long ass time, neither are true. Homophobia and in this case, the interlaced misogyngy and male entitlement, is alive and well. I think it also, like so many other tragic cases, legitimizes that for the marginalized, verbal harassment and verbally expressed bigotry is dangerous and worthy of fear. Ughhhhhhh.
    I hope some semblance of justice is found, and some semblance of peace.

  2. Not too far from where an Ex lives. I was never comfortable in the area. Never lived there. Never would. I’m just sick of us dying and straight people worrying more about… basically any issue ever.

  3. When I view AS on my phone and I see a smiling candid looking picture of a woman, a especially a black woman, loading up on the page I do this thing, this very childish thing before I scroll down.
    I whisper, “Don’t be dead, please don’t be dead. Be alive and winning a thing or something, please don’t be dead.”

    I stopped praying when I was 11, but that little whispered mantra what is it if not a prayer?

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