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Pennsylvania Man Arrested In Stabbing Death Of Boyfriend Who Vanished In 2019

Kenshaun Sheffield, 20, allegedly hid his boyfriend Rashid Young’s corpse in a recycling storage container at his own mother’s home before digging a hole and burying his boyfriend in a Philadelphia arboretum.

By Dorian Geiger
A police handout of Keshaun Sheffield

A Pennsylvania man has been arrested in the fatal 2019 stabbing of his boyfriend, whose unidentified body was discovered in a Philadelphia arboretum nearly three years ago.

Kenshaun Sheffield, 20, was taken into police custody in connection with the 2019 homicide of 22-year-old Rashid Young, officials announced Wednesday. He was arrested at his home in Philadelphia.

Police say the case remained unsolved for so long largely due to investigators being unable to positively identify Young’s remains.

“Since August 2019, a family has been searching for information about their missing son,” the Montgomery District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said in a prepared statement on June 1. “Today, we shared with them the tragic details of his death and will be able to return his remains to them for a proper burial.”

Young vanished on Aug. 19, 2019 from his home in Pottstown, Pennsylvania — about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. He reportedly shared the home with Sheffield.

Shortly thereafter, Young's family and friends received text messages from his phone cutting ties with them, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Just over a month later, then-unidentified and decomposing remains were discovered by a landscaper at the Awbury Arboretum in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown. At the time, a post-mortem examination was unable to positively identify him, but a Pottstown-issued recycling bin, tracked to Young's address, was found near the body, according to the paper.

Sheffield reported Young missing in December 2019, according to the Inquirer. 

For more than two years, the body remained unidentified. Montgomery County homicide investigators only recently opened an investigation into Young’s apparent death after his family hired a private investigator to look into his disappearance.

“The investigation found through the use of a confidential informant, cell phone records and other investigative means that the victim and defendant had been in a romantic relationship for approximately two years when Young went missing on Aug. 19, 2019,” the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office statement added. 

Detectives allege that Sheffield stabbed Young to death at his apartment on Aug. 19, 2019, and later intentionally flooded his home to destroy evidence. The Pottstown Police Department was called to the scene that summer by Young and Sheffield's former landlord to investigate reports of flooding at the water-damaged dwelling. Officers found broken doors, holes in walls, and garbage scattered throughout the property, according to the Inquirer; Sheffield told police he was no longer in contact with Young after a fight, according to the paper.

Sheffield, however, allegedly had stuffed Young’s remains into the recycling container, which he transported to his mother’s home. A third person — who prosecutors list as a witness, according to the Inquirer — alleges that he helped Sheffield dig a hole at Awbury Arboretum for Young's body; that person claimed to also have been romantically involved with Sheffield at the time of Young's death.

Young, the witness told police, returned to the arboretum without the witness to dump and cover up his boyfriend’s body.

The messages to Young's family and friends cutting ties, police allege, actually came from Sheffield, who they say accessed his boyfriend’s social media accounts and used his mobile phone to communicate with people to give the appearance the slain 22-year-old was still alive from August to December 2019. During that time, police allege, Sheffield made numerous withdrawals from the victim’s $2 million trust fund and was driving Young's car. After he reported Young missing, the account was frozen.

Sheffield has been charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, possessing an instrument of crime and access device fraud. 

Detectives, who haven’t released an exact motive, described the killing as domestic violence-related. 

“This is yet another case of relationship violence that turned into a murder,” Steele said. “People need to know that there is help available to them if they are in a violent relationship through Laurel House and the Women’s Center of Montgomery County.”

No further information was immediately available regarding the active investigation this week.

A spokesperson for the Pottstown Police Department didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s requests for comment Friday morning.

Sheffield is in custody at a Montgomery County detention facility, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. He’s being held without bail. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal counsel to comment on his behalf. Officials said Sheffield’s arraignment was pending. No court date information was immediately available Friday.