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Photographs by
Jana Birchum
After the white conversion van passes, Fuller's mother, Kathy, falls into a brief lament about her son, forgetting for a moment that she's talking to a reporter. She smiles reflectively and chuckles slightly under her breath.

"He always wore my slippers and carried my purse," she says. "He didn't like trucks or to dig in the dirt. I mean, my god, he might break a nail. He was my son -- my daughter. It didn't matter which. He was a sweet kid."

By all accounts, Thursday, January 7, was as average a day as any in the not-so-average life of transsexual Donald Scott Fuller, who was known to friends and many acquaintances as Lauryn Paige. He was staying with his best friend Dixie -- also a transsexual, living as a woman full time for the past two years --at her family's house in Southeast Austin. That night the two friends put on their make-up, fixed their wigs, and picked out their outfits for a night on the town. When they were ready to go, Dixie's parents asked if they needed a ride anywhere, but they declined. "Basically, that was the way it always was," the 19-year-old Dixie says. "It was like any other night." The two went to the home of another "transie" friend and hung out for a while --had a couple of drinks, shot the shit.

Around 9pm, the two teenagers left and "started working it," which is to say they began prostituting themselves on South Congress Avenue. At five in the morning, with just over $200 each -- average take-home pay -- the two were ready to go home, and began walking south on Congress near Battlebend, looking for a ride back to Dixie's neighborhood. "A van kept circling and finally pulled over at the Circle K," says Dixie.

The white conversion van had two occupants later identified as Gamaliel Mireles Coria and his girlfriend's brother, Frank Santos. Dixie and Fuller asked for a ride home. "Before we got into the van the very first thing I told them was that we were transsexuals," says Dixie. As she recalls, the party of four parked behind one of the car dealerships near William Cannon and South I-35, where Coria, Fuller, and Santos all snorted some cocaine.

"[Fuller] kept saying [to Coria], 'Be my boyfriend,'" says Dixie. "She kept saying, 'Oh, do you have a girlfriend? You're so cute and if you were my boyfriend I'd give you all my money' and stuff like that." According to Dixie, Fuller and Coria spent most of the time in the rear of the van having sex. At about 6am, Dixie was ready to get home. "I don't do coke," she says. "It was late. I was ready to go home." They drove back to Dixie's. "I told Lauryn, 'Let's go,'" she says. "But she kept saying, 'Girl, let me finish him.' I told her I loved her." And then Dixie went into her house and went to bed.

According to a police affidavit sworn by Frank Santos and filed by Austin Police Homicide Detective Brian Manley, the next stop the van made was at Santos' Southeast Austin apartment, where he was dropped off. Coria and Fuller went on alone.

At 12:46pm, January 8, Fuller's body was found underneath some brush near the entrance of Tokyo Electron Corporation by one of the company's employees. Five days later, 28-year-old Coria was arrested by Manley and charged with the murder of Donald Scott Fuller. Coria is still in jail, unable to post the $1 million bond.