Who killed Alana Kela?

Photography from Justin Gwin Alana Kela (? – 1993) was born in Hawaii, USA. I do not have an exact island name or date of birth. She died in 1993 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, from a single gunshot wound to her head. Her murder remains unsolved. This is the Case of the Month for July 2019.


Alana left Hawaii and went to Chicago to launch her career as a nightclub entertainer. She performed in The Baton Show Lounge in Chicago, was known for her Tahitian dance styling, referred to herself as a “hula girl,” and was also an accomplished model and pageant competitor. She was a transgender model who was the second alternate in the 1985 Miss Continental pageant.

Photography Bliss Rose

Photography Bliss Rose

Her murder

Alana was shot in the head while she walked up a second floor stairwell of an unspecified building (apartment building? public building?) in Manhattan, New York, 1993. No exact date of her death is in the public domain.

Witnesses told the authorities that they saw a man in a black coat hanging around the area before and after the murder. Whether this man was ever found and/or questioned is unknown.

Before she died, Alana appeared in an episode of “Trash TV” show. With host Jenny Jones she spoke about her transition from male-to-female and her work as an escort and a performer. They also spoke about family life, friends, and Alana’s career as showgirl at The Baton Show Lounge in Chicago, Illinois.

Alana worked as a model for Starra, a clothing boutique catering to transgender women and cross-dressing men.

Alana is briefly featured in archival footage of the feature-length documentary called “The Queens.” In this footage her friends discuss her murder.


There is a rumor that Alana was killed by a gunshot wound to the head at very close range while she stepped out of a taxi in New York City. There is also a rumor that she was killed by one of her madams.

I have not read anything about the murder weapon being found, traces at the scene, DNA, or even the correct year in which she was shot. Some say it was 1993, her grave says 1993, but others posted 1995.

Rest in peace, Alana Kela.


In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and of course, often more information can be found online and in newspaper archives.

The goal of these posts is to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are unsolved does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any thoughts about this case I encourage you to post them on your own social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Every time that we mention Alana Kela’s name online we enhance her digital footprint.

We must make sure that Alana keeps her web presence if we ever wish to find answers in her case. You can help by linking to or sharing this post.

Thank you for remembering Alana Kela with us.