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'Person Of Interest' Identified In Death Of Social Media Influencer Found Floating Off Jamaica
The Jamaica Constabulary Force gave Rushane "Chizzie" Patterson a deadline to turn himself in as part of the investigation into the murder of influencer Aneka Townsend, found floating off the Jamaican coast.
A person of interest has been identified after a fashion influencer was found dead in the waters off the Jamaican coast.
Aneka Townsend, known on Instagram as “Slickianna,” was found face-down in the ocean off the northwestern Jamaica shores of Reading in Saint James Parish — just west of Montego Bay — on Friday morning, according to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The 35-year-old social media influencer and mother-of-one was fished from the waters by Marine Police at around 9:30 a.m., authorities stated. Some local outlets, including the Jamaica Gleaner, reported that witnesses saw investigators collect a wig and “a towel in what appeared to have blood” from the scene.
However, an official cause has yet to be determined. JCF Senior Superintendent Stephanie Linsday told Oxygen.com that the case is being investigated as a homicide.
Townsend, who also went by the name “Kayan,” was from Waterloo Road in St. Andrew Parish, in the opposite southeastern region of the country.
She was identified by her mother, the Gleaner reported.
According to reports cited by the Jamaica Observer, preliminary findings show Townsend sustained wounds to the neck and head.
On Saturday, Jamaican officials announced that Rushane “Chizzie” Patterson of Prospect District in Hanover — about 20 miles west of where Townsend’s body was found — was a person of interest in the case.
“Investigators believe Patterson can assist them in advancing the probe into Townsend’s death and, therefore, are asking him to turn himself in to the Freeport Police Station by 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.”
A spokesperson for the Jamaica Constabulary Force told Oxygen.com on Monday that Patterson hadn’t surrendered to officials and “is still at large.”
The JCF also stated in their release that “investigators have conducted a series of operations in a neighboring parish, during which a motor vehicle was seized."
According to reports cited by several local outlets, including Loop News Jamaica and Caribbean National Weekly, Patterson was once eyed as a suspect in a 2013 rape and murder. In that case, a male and female couple was approached by a car full of men while walking along a St. Andrew Parish street on Feb. 9, 2013.
The male victim was placed in the trunk of a car and later shot to death when he tried to escape from the moving vehicle, according to the Caribbean-based news outlets. The woman was allegedly taken to a separate location, where she was raped, before someone slashed her throat.
The woman lived to tell the tale and later identified Patterson as one of her attackers from a lineup. However, according to Loop News, the Crown declined to prosecute when the witness couldn’t be contacted for court.
Before the case fell apart, prosecutors also accused Patterson of mowing the woman down in a car, according to the Gleaner.
On Tuesday, the Jamaica Observer posted a video to their Facebook page, showing friends and family gathering on a Montego Bay street for a candlelight vigil to commemorate the fashion ambassador’s death.
Townsend had nearly 320,000 followers on her Instagram page, where she identifies herself as a brand ambassador for several businesses related to fashion, cannabis and a line of eyelash extensions.
One of Townsend’s friends, Kareen Weathers, described Townsend as a “genuine soul” who would be remembered as more than a social media influencer, according to the Gleaner.
“Outside of what everybody saw on social media — the life of the party, the fashionista, the strong person — Aneka was somebody that lived in her truth,” said Weathers. “She was somebody that was very much open about her past and her life and her past struggles and how she’s just grateful to be in the position that she’s in.”
The Jamaica Constabulary Force is still investigating Townsend’s homicide.