NewsCovering Kern County


Jai Bornstein honored with vigil one year after her death

Beloved member of LGBTQ community
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 02:32:31-05

One year after her death, friends, family and members of the LGBTQ community are gathering Tuesday night to remember Jai Bornstein.

Last year, after a days-long search, the 19-year-old was found dead at Hart Park. The Kern County Coroner's Office said she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bornstein was a transgender teen and a beloved member of the local LGBTQ community. 

RELATED: Family searches for missing teen in Hart Park

Tuesday night, she was honored during a candlelight vigil held at the Liberty Bell in downtown Bakersfield.

RELATED: Group to honor Jai Borenstein with library offering resources for trans awareness

"I wish that I could have done more to support her," said Jai's friend, Dean Welliver. "I don't know what led Jai to her decision, but I wish that I would have known that she was struggling and not been afraid to reach out and offer support."

RELATED: Funeral held Monday for 19-year-old missing teen found dead in Hart Park

"We are so honored and we feel very humbled that the community has allowed Jai to be a positive force for change," said Jai's father, Robert Bornstein. "To protect the most vulnerable in our society and to keep pushing the message that Jai stood for which for, which is that you cannot judge a person by how they look."

RELATED: Community members hold vigil to remember Jai Bornstein

The Bornstein family encourages anybody struggling like Jai to contact them on their Facebook Page:

Finding Jai Bornstein.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.