The Florida woman accused of killing popular Atlanta transgender performer Lateasha Shuntel with a botched injection of industrial grade liquid silicone is also charged with injecting silicone into three other victims in Atlanta.
Deanna M. Roberts (photo), 46, was arrested outside Orlando on Tuesday, a week after a federal grand jury indicted her on eight counts of illegally possessing liquid silicone, transporting it across state lines with the intent to “defraud and mislead,” and injecting it into the face, hips and buttocks of four people in Atlanta between October 2014 and Nov. 16, 2015.
The injections killed Shuntel, federal prosecutors say, two days after Roberts allegedly treated her. The indictment alleges that Roberts injected liquid silicone into the buttocks of Shuntel and the hips and buttocks of a second person, identified as J.T. in court documents, at a house on Dunseath Avenue near Marietta Boulevard in northwest Atlanta on Nov. 16, 2015.
Shuntel, 45, was found dead on Nov. 18. Doraville police discovered Shuntel’s body at her residence in the 2700 block of Addison Drive, which is in a neighborhood nestled between Chamblee Tucker Road and Buford Highway.
An autopsy showed that Shuntel did not suffer any traumatic injuries before her death, officials with the DeKalb Medical Examiner's Officer said in November. But on April 20, the medical examiner ruled Shuntel's death a homicide, according to an incident report from the Atlanta Police Department. The autopsy listed the cause of death as “complications of silicone polymer embolization.” Silicone polymers similar to ones removed from Shuntel's buttocks were also found in her lungs, according to the incident report.
Roberts is also charged with injecting liquid silicone into two other people in Atlanta – the face of S.P. in October 2014 and the hips and buttocks of V.M. in November 2014. They did not die from the injections, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A federal grand jury indicted Roberts on May 11. A warrant was then issued and federal marshals raided Roberts' home in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday and arrested her. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Baker ordered that Roberts be held without bail as “a danger to the community” during a hearing Tuesday in Orlando. She is expected to be returned to Atlanta to face prosecution.
The Food & Drug Administration only allows for medical grade silicone to be injected into humans for the treatment of a limited list of eye injuries, according to the indictment. But Roberts allegedly injected industrial liquid silicone she purchased from Arizona-based Factor II into her victims.
Federal prosecutors allege that Roberts bought 178 gallons of liquid silicone from Factor II between April 2004 and December 2015 and had it shipped to residences in Florida and Virginia. Before Factor II would sell the silicone to Roberts, the company required her to submit an affidavit that she would not use the material for injections into humans.
“The defendant falsely and with intent to defraud submitted the required affidavit to Factor II, Inc., when in truth and in fact, the defendant well knew that she intended to inject the liquid silicone that she received from Factor II, Inc., into the bodies of humans,” according to the indictment.
Roberts told Factor II that she wanted the liquid silicone to lubricate the medical equipment of clients of her Orlando-based D & D Distributing, according to the indictment. Roberts also lied to the people she injected with the silicone, prosecutors alleged.
“The defendant falsely and with intent to defraud claimed to the victims and others that she was a licensed medical practitioner, when in truth and in fact, she was not a licensed medical practitioner,” according to the indictment.
Roberts is transgender and preyed on trans performers and drag queens, promising to enhance their look, according to Taylor Lianne Chandler, a former friend of Roberts' who claimed she was the victim of a botched breast enhancement at the hands of Roberts in 2005.
But the procedure ruptured Chandler's implants and forced her to seek emergency surgery, the Central Florida woman told the New York Daily News.
“I spent a fortune trying to get the silicone removed. I had it removed and had it removed quickly,” she said.
Chandler met Roberts, a transgender woman, in 1990 before Roberts transitioned and the pair were “like sisters,” she said.
But Roberts' shady silicone enhancement business made enemies of “hundreds” of people who were victims of her bungled work, she said.
Chandler, who is intersex, also claimed to be a former girlfriend of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps at the time of his DUI arrest in 2014. She said the pair met on Tinder and had sex on their first date; Phelps has never acknowledged that the pair was in a relationship, according to the Daily News.
On Wednesday, Chandler detailed her years-long friendship and violent falling out with Roberts in a Facebook post. Chandler accused Roberts of becoming angry after her gender transition and sex reassignment surgery.
She stayed in a gay world and surrounded herself with people on the fringe that would be her YES men/women. It's horrible that she killed someone or many. It's long overdue that she face consequences for all she has done throughout the years. I hope justice is finally served. When the judge refused her bond saying she was a danger to society, he had no understanding of the magnitude of all she has hurt.
Drag queens in Orlando accused Roberts of taking advantage of other performers, according to WESH.
Female impersonator Leigh Shannon said as quiet as it is kept, illegal injections have been going on since the late 1960s to enhance one's career and looks.
“Female impersonators who have no money, low-income, are doing this and the people are taking advantage of the them,” Shannon said.
[image via WESH]