Police investigating the murder of Dominique Rem’mie Fells, a Black trans woman whose dismembered body was pulled from a river in Philadelphia, have issued an arrest warrant for a murder suspect in connection with the case.
Warning – contains graphic descriptions of violence.
Fell’s mutilated body was recovered from the Schuylkill river on June 9. Her corpse was stuffed into a suitcase with both legs severed, with stab wounds and evidence of trauma to the face and head.
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Police investigating the case have now issued an arrest warrant for a murder suspect, Akhenaton Jones, after attending a home and discovering blood and a cutting tool believed to be connected to the case, according to NBC Philadelphia.
Jones, 36, is said to be an acquaintance of the victim, according to the outlet.
It is unclear if the case is being treated as a hate crime.
A friend of Fells, Kendall Stevens, told Philly Voice of the murder victim: “She lived her truth so loud that you could hear her a mile away.
“We’re devastated. We live with a constant fear of being assaulted and being murdered before our time. It seems to be a person of trans experience of colour, that’s like death sentence.”
Dominique ‘Rem’mie’ Fells will have justice, say Pennsylvania officials.
In a statement on Tuesday, the heads of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs said: “Dominique did not deserve to lose her life. She deserved to live, thrive, and be prosperous in this world as do every transgender and non-binary person within the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“In Pennsylvania, we have already lost so many Black and brown trans people due to violence and transphobia, and, make no mistake, these are hate crimes and should be categorised as such.
“Trans people have been facing genocide across this country and within this state because we are born into a ‘cistemic’ system that is intentionally set up for us to fail and fall by the hands of others or ourselves. While we mourn another loss in the trans community, [we] want to highlight the importance of continuing to be unified and not going out alone.
“Our society is collectively responsible for every death in the Black trans community, and we must continue to demand to be recognised, to be protected, and to have these hate crimes against our community eradicated.”
The Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs said in a previous statement: “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.
“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 colour — is truly an epidemic, and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further.
“We are committed to ensuring that acts of discrimination, bigotry, and hatred are never tolerated in the city of Philadelphia. Know that we see you, we grieve with you, and we join you in solidarity at this time of great sadness.”