A 36-year-old Powelton man is being sought in connection with the death of a transgender woman whose dismembered body was found in the Schuylkill last week, police said Wednesday.
Akhenaton Jones of the 3900 block of Powelton Avenue was not at his residence when police went there Tuesday to execute a search warrant in connection with the killing of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27, Staff Inspector Sekou Kinebrew said.
Police found a power-cutting tool and blood at Jones’ residence, Kinebrew said. He said that the motive behind the slaying was not known and that Jones was an acquaintance of Fells', but did not have further details.
Fells died from multiple stab wounds, and her death has been ruled a homicide, a spokesperson for the city Medical Examiner’s Office said last week.
The upper part of her body was found in the river near Bartram’s Garden shortly before 7 p.m. June 8. There was trauma to her head and face. Her legs, which had been severed, were recovered separately from the river last Thursday.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Jones on charges of murder, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with evidence, and abuse of corpse.
Fells’ murder has shaken her friends and advocates, who say continued violence against transgender people urgently needs to be addressed.
Madelyn Morrison, a friend, has said Fells loved fashion, music, people, and “having fun and being vibrant.”
Fells made outfits and wigs for people in her freelance fashion work and also organized the “Rock the Runway — A Trans Empowerment Fashion Show” that took place last year at the William Way LGBT Community Center, Morrison said. “She always showed us these pieces of hers that were so brilliant, so creative.”
Fells, of Southwest Philadelphia, came to the city from York, Pa., advocates in the LGBTQ community have said.
“The murder of Dominique Fells constituted yet another act of hate and violence against a member of the LGBTQ community,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement Wednesday. “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.
“Our homicide detectives have worked tirelessly in identifying the person responsible for this horrific crime, and we are asking the public’s assistance in locating this dangerous offender so that he may be held accountable, and so that Ms. Fells and the community might gain a measure of justice,” Outlaw said.
The city’s Office of LGBT Affairs said in a statement last Thursday that the murder of trans people is an epidemic.
“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 office said, adding: “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."