As protests against racial injustice continue around the country, Philadelphia officials are investigating the homicide of a Black transgender woman found dismembered in a city river.
The dismembered body of Dominique Rem'mie Fells, 27, was found floating in the Schuylkill River on Monday, June 8 in Southwest Philadelphia, according to NBC10. She was identified later that week in a statement by the city's Office of LGBT Affairs.
Fells died from multiple stab wounds and her death has been ruled a homicide, the city Medical Examiner's Office told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday this week for the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Akhenaton Jones, according to local outlet Fox 29. He has apparently left Philadelphia and his current whereabouts are unknown, police told NBC10. A cutting tool and blood was found at the suspect's home, police said.
“As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, it is critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives. Dominique Rem’mie Fells’ life mattered," the city's statement read. “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."
In 2019, at least 26 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed nationwide — with an overwhelming majority of them being Black, according to the Human Rights Campaign. At least 14 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed just this year.
"Dominique who often went by the name Rem'mie was truly one of a kind. We can Assure all of you that we will not stop until her killers are found and justice is served accordingly," Fells' family wrote in a statement on their GoFundMe campaign to pay for funeral costs. The fundraiser has raised over $120,000 from an original goal of $1,000.
Fells was a freelance fashion designer and organized “Rock the Runway — A Trans Empowerment Fashion Show," which took place last year at the William Way LGBT Community Center, friend Madelyn Morrison told the Inquirer.
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