Philadelphia

Arrest Warrant Issued in Murder of Trans Woman Found in Schuylkill River

Police recovered a cutting tool inside the home and also discovered blood. They believe the murder suspect is currently out of the Philadelphia area.

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An arrest warrant was issued in connection to the murder of a trans woman whose dismembered body was found floating in the Schuylkill River last week. 

Police told NBC10 they served an arrest warrant at a home on 39th Street and Powelton Avenue Tuesday in connection to the death of Dominique Rem'mie Fells. Police recovered a cutting tool inside the home and also discovered blood. They believe the murder suspect, Akhenaton Jones, 36, is currently out of the Philadelphia area.

Jones is believed to be armed and dangerous. Police urge anyone who sees him to stay away and call their tip line at 215-686-TIPS or their homicide unit at 215-686-3334. People can also submit tips online at phillypolice.com.

Akhenaton Jones, 36, looks at the camera. He is believed to have murdered a transgender woman in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Police Department
Akhenaton Jones, 36, looks at the camera. He is believed to have murdered a transgender woman in Philadelphia.

Fells was found on June 8 floating near Bartram's Garden in Southwest Philadelphia. Her body was bruised and both legs were severed.

Fells was a transgender woman. Deja Lynn Alvarez, an activist and member of Philadelphia's trans community, shared photos of Fells on Facebook on Thursday.

To my LGBQ and especially Trans communities there is horrible news here in Philadelphia again.Tuesday a dismembered...

Posted by Deja Lynn Alvarez on Thursday, June 11, 2020

A police spokesperson said the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

“She was a person who could light up a room even when she was being quiet," her father told NBC10. "The one thing that stood out about her is she did her own thing with confidence, which as a family we all embraced.”

A law enforcement source told NBC10 that dive teams found legs in bags in the same area where her body was found. The legs were discovered as authorities conducted an unrelated search for the bodies of two teens who went missing in the river last week.

“The murder of Dominique Fells constituted yet another act of hate and violence against a member of the LGBTQ community,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “We are deeply disturbed by the facts of this case, and extend our deepest sympathy to Ms. Fells’ family, friends, and the entire LGBTQ community."

In its statement, the office of LGBT Affairs called the killing of trans people of color an epidemic.

“We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses—especially within our transgender communities—that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all. The murder of transgender people—especially those of color—is truly an epidemic, and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further," the statement read in part.

Violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people continues to be a plague on the community. In 2019, at least 26 trans and gender non-conforming were killed nationwide, according to the Human Rights Campaign. A staggering 91% of the known victims were Black women. So far this year at least 14 people died.

“Black Trans Lives Matter,” said Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative in a statement to NBC10. “In the same week countless people across the globe stand up for racial injustice, in the same week we honor the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, in the same week a billionaire author spouts transphobic rhetoric to millions – in this same week, we have lost two more Black transgender women to the same fate most of us worry about every day. Say their names. Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells. Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells. Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells. Riah Milton. Riah Milton. Riah Milton. Continue to say the names of every transgender and gender non-conforming person stolen from this Earth. Don't wait until we are all gone to speak up. This fight belongs to us all.”

The billionaire author Cooper refers to is J.K. Rowling, creator of 'Harry Potter'. Rowling faced fierce criticism last week, including from actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Eddie Redmayne, for comments she made on Twitter about trans women.

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